A story is something that everybody is familiar with. The majority of people used to listen to stories and like them very much. Children also enjoy stories and like to listen to them.
Advantages of Using Stories
Stories give many opportunities for children to practice everything they have learned. The following are more advantages of stories.
- Stories are motivating and fun, they create a deep interest and a desire to continue learning.
- Listening to stories is a shared social experience; it provokes a shared response of laughter, sadness, excitement, and anticipation.
- Stories exercise the imagination; children can become personally involved in a story as they identify with the characters and try to interpret the narrative and illustrations.
- Stories are a useful tool in linking fantasy and imagination with the child’s real world.
- Stories provide a way of enabling children to make sense of their everyday life.
- Listening to stories allows the teacher to introduce or revise new vocabulary and sentence structures by exposing the children to the language.
- Stories help students of all levels to understand literature, they carry ideological massages.
- Children’s storybooks offer universal truths, moral appeals to one generation after another.
Planning the Story Lessons
How to use a story in English lessons? It requires all types of planning. A good teacher should do lots of planning and preparation to create interesting and efficient story lessons. It gives lots of opportunities to the teachers to be creative, use suitable well prepared activities and make the lessons enjoyable for children and the teacher as well.
The story lesson must be carefully planned if the teacher and children are intended to get the maximum enjoyment and the maximum learning out of the lesson.
Why Good Teachers Should Plan Their Story Lessons
- It gives them security and confidence, which is passed on to the students.
- They become aware of the activities that will be done during the lesson.
- They become aware of how much time each activity will take.
- It is much quicker to check at the end of the lesson what actually achieved.
- They become aware of the language skills (speaking, writing, listening, reading, as well as pronunciation) will be used and taught through the story.
Basic Principles for Using Stories
There are some basic principles for using stories.
1. Creating a Friendly Atmosphere
It is necessary to create friendly atmosphere when you want to present a tale and storytelling activities. This atmosphere can be achieved by changing the arrangement of furniture. Sitting in a circle or a semicircle or decorating the classroom by students and the teacher works well to create a friendly atmosphere. This arrangement makes students feel safe and confident and encourages them to use the language comfortably without fear of making mistakes.
2. Selecting a Suitable Story
When choosing a tale you should carefully consider whether it is interesting, motivating, and suitable for children of their age and whether all activities give them an opportunity to develop their language skills.
3. Creating a Good Lesson Plan
Story lessons should be carefully planned and at the same time they should give a chance to be adapted. Teachers should prepare their reading including stress, intonation in advance. Using cassettes is acceptable but real reading creates a more pleasant atmosphere and children appreciate it. This work provides space for many different skills to be practiced: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
4. Using Different Class Organization
Children enjoy different organization. They like to work in groups and pairs and often have the desire to help each other. When sitting in a circle or semicircle they listen to the tale carefully.
5. Using Visual aids
Story-based activities connected with visual aids like wall posters usually give children many opportunities for practicing new vocabulary and imagination as well. Using acting, gestures and facial expressions makes children enjoy the story very much. Having the children perform the tale themselves in front of their friends guarantees that children develop all language skills.
Putting in min the above mentioned principles, I’ve decided to write in more detail about them and create a practical guide for teachers and parents as well to Using Stories in Teaching English to Young Learners.
This guide includes all the practical information that will guide both teachers and parents to:
- Selecting the best stories to use with children.
- Applying the right strategies for using stories to teach English to young learners.
- Following the right steps when reading stories aloud to young learners.