The Three Dolls
Listen out for the English word used in the story
that best fits these:-
A person under the rule of a monarch or
Someone who gives considered thought to a
situation and then gives a recommendation.
A jester or clown. ________
An unexpected development in the plot of a
Stories help with the meanings of language
and not just the study of language
Stories give the experience of a river of
flowing and sustained language use, as
opposed to conversational turn taking in which
the learner experiences only short bursts of
Stories are captivating and personal and will
Reading a story is good. You don’t have to learn
them, you are sure that the English is correct
and you are using the author’s choice of
Telling allows us to adapt the story to the
listeners and gives us opportunities to mime
actions and words more readily, use artefacts
and make contact with the listeners
Eric Maddern….“It has also been observed
that the act of storytelling raises the
language level of the storyteller. As a
result storytellers display a confidence
and power that is not present in their
other uses of language. Storytelling is
therefore an effective way of improving
oral fluency. It is good for teachers and
Choosing a Story
To begin with use short
stories….well known or from life.
A good story should include:
An inviting beginning that gets straight into
A clear and well developed plot.
A problem, dilemma or conflict that comes in
early and creates suspense.
A few believable, though perhaps unusual,
Plenty of action building to a climax.
Incidents related in word pictures that evoke
vivid images in the listener’s mind
An edge of excitement, which can include many
emotions, fear or sadness.
Pleasing sounds, repeated phrases and rhythms
which can involve the audience.
An ending perhaps surprising which resolves
the story in a satisfying way.
The most important criterion is
that you like the story and want
to tell it.
Becoming a teller of stories.
Be yourself; tell in your own style. As there are
many styles of teaching, so there are many styles
Don’t learn the story word for word. However,
for some stories, there may be key phrases,
rhymes and good descriptions that you may have
It takes time to make a story your own but you
will get quicker at this. Some people learn a
story best visualizing it as a series of moving
pictures in their imaginations. Others listen to
the story on a recording and concentrate on the
sound and rhythm of the language. Others
might like to write the story down, sometimes
in a simple outline. All these methods have
their value and can, of course, be used in
Grasping the plot. Obviously the first step is to read the
story several times. Decide on what you like about the
story that you want to convey to your audience – its
humour, sense of wonder, magical strangeness, the way it
moves you, its beauty or wisdom. Language teachers
must not destroy the story or the student’s
engagement in the storytelling and listening by an
over enthusiasm for the language teaching potential
of the story! Become familiar with its basic construction,
how it builds to a climax and resolves in the ending.
Seeing the story. Get to know the people and
settings of the story by imagining them in as
much detail as possible. This can be done by
closing your eyes and visualizing a scene from
the story, using all the senses to make it alive
and real. For characters, notice the clothes, the
way they move, their facial expressions and
the way they talk. Only when you can see the
story vividly yourself can you make your
audience see it.
Timing. You will become aware of what
words to emphasize, where to pause, where to
speed up and slow down. Don’t be afraid to
Practicing the story and playing with the voice.
It is good to try out the story out loud, to
yourself, a friend or record it and listen. Play
with your voice using different volumes, pitch,
breathing and speed.
Movement and gestures. When telling a story
you will probably find yourself making
gestures. Painting hand pictures in the air can
add considerably to the enjoyment of the story
and the understanding of the vocabulary – but
beware of being distracting. Some storytellers
move their bodies a great deal in their telling
to add drama, others are very still, and both
can be effective.
Objects and sounds. Sometimes objects can
add interest and understanding to a story.
Music and sounds can be effective too but
these can also be a distraction to language
You have to think of three things to
make your telling of a story to
language learners more effective:
When to tell….as an
Children as Tellers
Eric Maddern…..”It has also been observed
that the act of storytelling raises the language
level of the storyteller. As a result storytellers
display a confidence and power that is not
present in their other uses of language.
Storytelling is therefore an effective way of
improving oral fluency. It is good for teachers
The students need some reason for telling their stories:
“TV” or theatre
Well known stories
Retelling a story
Resetting a story
Telling the story from a different view…a
character in the story/someone watching the
International storytelling site based in Spain.
The Society for Storytelling …..a British site.
Story Lovers World …(scroll down to “SOS
searching for stories”)
A personal site but good for resources.
1660 fairy tales.
…and they all lived happily ever after…