Whether it’s fairies or folk tales, myths and legends; the ancient art of oral storytelling plays an important role within the classroom. By telling a good tale through evocative words and a strong plot will mesmerise children within seconds, helping to strengthen their understanding of language as well as enhancing their listening skills.
We’ve compiled some enchanting ways to bring storytelling into your classroom, both as a teacher and for pupils to complete themselves – they’ll be spellbound!
Investigating myths and legends
One way for children to begin their own ‘Once upon a time’ is to explore myths and legends from around the globe. This will not only inspire children to conjure up their own mythical creatures, but it will also expand their cultural knowledge and how ‘myths and legends’ relate to the world today. Some myths and legends to investigate can include:
• The Skelies of Scotland
• King Arthur and Excalibur
• The Lady in the Lake
• The Piskies of Cornwall
There are also a range of opportunities to use props and to help inspire children to tell stories including our medieval figure sets and fantasy world wooden characters. Scholastic has a fantastic selection of teacher resources to explore myths from around the world.
How to encourage young learners to get creative with words
Start by discussing what makes a good story, which can be explored through some favourite fairytales shared within the class. This can help to discuss the meaning or purpose of stories and why they are told. Discuss the different elements of a story including the start, middle and end.
Download our Create your own fairy tale worksheet
Delve deeper into the rise and fall of a story to add action and suspense, and why it’s important to explore who, what, how, where, when and why. A good way to get children to start thinking about the elements of a story is to give them an opening which prompts questions, such as:
“Silver was no ordinary fairy, for Silver was named after her long flowing hair which brought light to the dark and hope to the rest of the fairies who’d been banished with her to the enchanted wood.”
• Why is Silver special?
• Why have they been banished?
• What are they doing there?
• How long have they been there?
• How are they going to escape?
• Where is the enchanted wood?
• What makes it enchanted?
Download our Storyboard worksheet
Elements to think about when constructing a good story
To guide the listener, a good story must have a clear beginning, middle and end, without this you’ll lose your audience as they will not be able to keep track of the unfolding plot. A good way to devise a story is to use a storyboard to add the key elements before constructing.
The art of performing your story
Teach English lists some fantastic skills children of all ages gain from telling their own stories out loud, which include:
Storytelling and intercultural understanding
There are a number of ways in which storytelling can enhance intercultural understanding and communication. Stories can…
• allow children to explore their own cultural roots
• allow children to experience diverse cultures
• enable children to empathise with unfamiliar people/places/situations
• offer insights into different traditions and values
• help children understand how wisdom is common to all peoples/all cultures
• offer insights into universal life experiences
• help children consider new ideas
• reveal differences and commonalties of cultures around the world
By actively encouraging storytelling in the classroom you will help to:
• Promote a feeling of well-being and relaxation
• Increase children’s willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings
• Encourage active participation
• Increase verbal proficiency
• Encourage use of imagination and creativity
• Encourage cooperation between students
• Enhance listening skills
Telling your story
No matter what age you are, everyone loves to hear a good story! By encouraging your pupils to share their own stories will help enhance communication skills and self-confidence. The Society for Storytelling has a range of free educational guides and resources to help bring stories to life in your classroom.
A great resource to help build WOW words into a story:
Performance artist and writer Mark Hancock discusses how to tell a good story:
For older children who are more adept at writing in the short story form and want to explore how to make storytelling exciting, Ed Tech Review has compiled a list of free digital resources to help:
For more fun activities visit our literacy page or visit us on Pinterest.