Simple Storytelling (Speaking) Activities for (Very) Young Learners + FREE Story cube

Hi, my dear colleagues! In my mind, in Methodologyland, there is a constant shortage of interactive storytelling activities, especially ones that involve speaking. It’s even more daunting if you are teaching very young learners who cannot read or haven’t even been introduced to sight words, so I usually use a story cube with VYl!

This post is meant to share a simple, 3-part formula that can be replicated with any picture book without having the teacher prepare the lesson plan for hours.

This magical formula consists of:

  1. Describing pictures & guessing the story/topic based on 1 picture only
  2. Interactive storytelling questions during dramatization
  3. Making up a simple story with story cubes

Describing pictures & guessing the story/topic based on 1 picture only

This could be a lead-in for the storytelling session or another way to start the storytelling without introducing the book.

  1. You can either show them the cover of the book, have them describe it in as many details as possible, and then guess the topic of the story or…
  2. You can use storymats (the examples below come from a calendar for children), where there the topic is similar to the topic of the book. I use this for nursery rhyme books and well-know stories and fairytales so that they don’t guess immediately because then they are not that interested to describe.

Here are my sustainable, DIY story mats (most of them are nursery rhymes and famous stories):

Some guided description questions include:
  1. What do you see in the front of the picture?
  2. What do you see in the picture?
  3. What is this (character: animal, girl/boy, anything else) doing?
  4. What is this (character) wearing?
  5. What is this (character) feeling in the picture?

Make sure to point to the picture as you show and demonstrate what the front is and the back of the picture because background also plays an essential role in describing.

Interactive storytelling questions during the dramatization

Educators often forget to ask questions during the storytelling itself, and there lies a lot of wasted potentials. Even if the children are very young, we can ask them straightforward questions, such as:

  1. How many…do you see?
  2. What is tha name of…?
  3. What is this? (Always pointing to the illustration)
  4. Do you like this/that…?

And of course, always asking children things like are you ready to continue to the next page, or do you want to see what is next because that makes them feel like they are in control, and they lead the story, not the teacher, which also makes them more motivated.

They eagerly anticipate what will happen on the next page, and it always works.

An example with a super simple book – easy storytelling activities!

Making up a simple story with story cubes

Story cubes are great for making simple stories. I have 6 of these, and I usually use them to make an alternate ending.

We spin the cube and then name all of the images. After that, I keep turning the cube, and the students use the words they see to make simple, funny sentences to finish the story in a new, fun way. While working with young learners, I usually use the present simple for making up a new ending, and it’s always fun because the cubes are not related to the story, so the ending is always silly.

When you download the printable form below and print it out, you can either draw your own images or teach young learners who can read, and you can also write down some questions or sight words.

Story cubes coming your way!

 What do you think about my storytelling activities, story cube, and story prompts? What are some practical activities you use to make storytelling easy-peasy?

Please write down in the comments or via the contact page. I would love to know your opinion!

Click here to explore my store where 99% of materials are forever free!

All the materials except lesson plans and 30+ page interactive activity books will be free FOREVER! Why? Because sharing is caring, and 2020 hasn’t been kind to all of us. Please consider donating so I can keep making FREE materials for everyone and keep my website open for all of you. 

Don’t forget to leave a review when you download materials! It’s just a minute of your time, and it means a lot to me.

P.S. The store and the freebie library are not the same thing – the freebie library has some extra materials like conference presentations and webinar recordings which are not available in the store 

The subscription link for the store is below my bio in every post. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-23.png

About Alice Glass

Alice is a 29 years old English teacher with a B.Ed and M.Ed. with a double minor (English teaching methodology for young learners and Serbian language teaching methodology). She is also a young but published academic researcher, materials designer, and an online ESL teacher for children in her own school, ELLoquent. She is passionate about teaching young learners, environmental education, storytelling & drama, and distance learning. Last but not least, she is a mother of an autistic toddler with SPD.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *