Storytelling is an important skill, having applications both in the classroom and in our daily lives. It’s easy to take storytelling for granted – as adults we use it so often that we can forget that it was a skill that we had to learn.
And what a useful skill it is, too!
Grasping the basics of storytelling can help kids to develop their literacy, analytical, language and communication skills, as well as providing a natural platform for children to explore their imaginations and improve their confidence, both within small groups and even in front of a whole class or assembly. Reading stories aloud can help develop understanding and an appreciation for cause and effect, skills that can be applied to the wider world. These skills can then be further developed by encouraging children to tell their own stories, whether through words or pictures, and can feed into classroom activities like drama and music.
We think in terms of stories, and beginning to understand how stories work can be an important tool, enabling children to find new ways of interacting with others. You may overhear these stories being retold in the classroom, in the playground and at home!
Telling, writing and reading stories as a class can provide a fun and effective way to look at a wide range of different topics in the classroom like history, culture and religion. Human history, after all, is based on stories. There is an enormous wealth of stories out there, just waiting to energise and inspire your class!
Why not build on the foundation of National Storytelling Week, which took place only a few weeks ago, and try some of these great storytelling resources in the classroom?
Early Years and Foundation Stage
A set of worksheets and activities based on the story of the Gingerbread Man.
A presentation of Little Red Riding Hood.
A child friendly presentation of Punch and Judy.
The story of the Phoenix – presentation and printable pdf.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears presentation.
A good presentation introducing an activity getting kids to think about characterisation – by pretending to be a superhero! Based on the story of Robin Hood.
Three playscripts based on Cinderella, the Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears – great for engaging kids in drama – why not get your students to write their own versions?
Fabulous sequencing activity for Jack and the Beanstalk.
A fun activity aimed at getting kids thinking about characterisation: Wanted Posters for your evil characters.
KS2 Lesson Plans
A thorough literacy lesson plan for the Myths and Legends topic.
A series of planned lessons and activities aimed at encouraging creative writing – Describing Dragons.
A who’s who of ancient Greek legends – great for getting your students thinking about different characters.
Theseus and the Minotaur presentation.
The story of Pandora’s Box.
A presentation of the story of Arachne the Weaver.
The story of Persephone and Demeter in a short, well written presentation.
The story of Perseus and the Gorgon’s Head – a great way to get kids reading aloud in class, and a good start to a play or assembly based around the tale.
A great creative writing worksheet encouraging kids to develop their own characters.
A series of lessons developed by Nuffield Primary History using Greek Myths as a means of thinking about the way history is written.
A great worksheet aimed at planning and writing a really scary story.
An interactive whiteboard activity where students are encouraged to write their own quest story – looking at description and characterisation
General Resources – Storytelling Around The World
If you’re looking for a wider range of stories, take a look at World of Tales – this is a wonderful online resource with a wealth of stories for children from all around the world. Here you can find hundreds of traditional stories in a printable format, along with a selection of audio files and animated films retelling some of these tales.
Ancient China for Kids provides a great set of resources on Chinese myths and legends in the form of fact sheets, presentations and worksheets.
Make use of full lesson plans for a unit on the generosity of spirit in folk tales from around the world, developed by Learning to Give.
This retelling of The Story of the Fire Owl, an Inuit folk tale was originally intended for a German lesson, but would work just as well as a tool for improving literacy skills and comprehension.
Apples4theteacher.com have a good range of Native American stories to share with your class – along with plenty of tips and resources on encouraging your students to engage with stories and start writing their own.