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National Storytelling Week: How you can teach your children about the great art of telling a story

27 January 2017

All children love listening to and telling stories and National Storytelling Week celebrates this hugely important part of learning and development.

Here are some lesson ideas that will help you bring storytelling alive in your classroom.

Storytelling Props

Props are a great way of bringing stories to life. Take a story that everyone knows, like The Three Little Pigs. Allow your children to follow the story using their ears and eyes with props and get them to act out the various parts. Use masks for the pigs, a furry hood for the wolf, and straw, sticks and blocks for the houses. Children will love the performing aspect and the sequencing of the story - and of course, they’ll know all the words.

Word Mats

Word mats are used to help children exercise their imagination. By providing a child with a group of unrelated words, for example, “bear” “ball” “circus” and “happy”, the child can then create a short story based on those few words. They can be a few sentences long, or take a few minutes to read, depending on age and ability. Children can work individually or in groups and can read out their stories to the class.

Visual prompts

For storytelling with a dramatic turn, gather together a collection of prompts, for example, clothes pegs, a woolly hat, a plastic beaker, a cereal box. Allow the children to form teams of four. One by one, each team should stand in front of the class. You then deliver a first storyline prompt and allow the children to continue, one by one, prompted by a visual aid to help develop the story. The storytellers and their audience can enjoy seeing how the story gets even more ridiculous as it continues.

Create a storybook scene

Choose a story or a book that is well known, for example, The Gruffalo. As a class, create the wood in which the story takes place using tree bark, twigs and leaves. Divide your class into teams, with each one being responsible for creating the characters – the mouse, the Gruffalo, the snake, the fox and the owl. The day can finish with you reading the story while a designated team member has the job of acting out the role of the character he or she has designed.

Character list

We love this graphic which charts the many different characters who your children could include in a story – the old woman, the hero, the goblin, the giant, the dancing bear - which gives children guidelines within their story to develop the narrative in a weird and wonderful way.

Allow your children to pick up to five characters, and let them create a story around those figures to be read out in front of the class. Image courtesy of

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