13 We tell and write stories.


We tell and write stories.

View Big Book.

Most children have heard stories, either told or read to them by family and caregivers, since they were very young. Both personal narratives and made-up stories are an important part of children’s lives. Many children also enjoy the role of storyteller and are ready to share anecdotes about their own lives as well as once-upon-a-time stories. Their stories can be written, too, especially with the help of a more mature writer.

About the Picture Olivia is telling a story about a special day when a fox sang and a bear danced. She also wrote a little story with the assistance of her teacher.

Major Concepts

  • Children are natural and spontaneous storytellers.
  • Children who know stories can tell them and discover how to write them.
  • Pictures help to tell stories.

State Standards Covered in This Chapter

LAFS Covered in This Chapter

TEKS Covered in This Chapter

Daily Lesson Planning

Day 1

  1. Talk about "We tell and write stories" and read the little story that Olivia has written with her teacher. Talk about the fox and the bear and what is happening to them. With the children’s input, make up more of the story in which something specific happens (a problem or challenge) to the fox and the bear. Explain that stories always have characters who must face some kind of problem or challenge. (Recall familiar stories to show this concept.)
  2. Provide students with blank versions of the illustration so that they can write their own stories.
  3. Implement “We tell and write stories” (BB 22). Using examples, remind students that stories need a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Have them tell their stories to a partner, and then ask volunteers to share their stories.

Days 2-6

Choose from the following:

  • Implement "Story Order."
  • When children want to tell or write a story, try “We tell a story with a beginning, a middle, and an ending” (BB 23). Then suggest that children plan their stories by drawing three pictures. (Most children will need guidance.) Implement "Picture Plan."
  • Write once-upon-a-time stories. Do shared writing, with individuals or in small groups.
  • Provide paper bags, colored paper, paper circles, craft sticks, yarn, and other materials appropriate for puppet making and story props. Include copies of "Bear Puppet" and "Fox Puppet." Encourage children to use props and puppets for informal storytelling throughout the day.
  • Invite children to draw pictures about a special, fun time or about something important that happened to them. The pictures can tell most of the story, but encourage some writing, too. Consider taking dictation from some students. (Stories may also be tape-recorded and then transcribed by an adult.)
  • Invite children to tell or write their own versions of favorite stories.

Concluding Days

  1. Have a storytelling fest—reading, telling, or showing original or adapted stories.
  2. Invite others to the fest. (See "We make signs and labels.")
LAFS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

Related Resource Tags

Click to view a list of tags that tie into other resources on our site

English Language Arts:

Additional Activities

These activities offer options for continuing the learning in this unit. Whether your curriculum is skill-based or more open-ended, select the activities that are most appropriate for the children in your classroom. The Writing Spot is primarily a writing program, but writing can be integrated throughout your curriculum—in art, drama, reading, math, and science.

  • Add sounds to stories.

Read stories with sounds to your class. Invite them to join in the storytelling by reading a key group of words or adding a sound in appropriate spots. Make a list of “sound” words (boom, crash, howl, splash, drip, buzz, snap, woof, meow) for children to use. Encourage them to write stories with sounds that they can read aloud to the class. Try "Night Sounds" as a read aloud.

  • Invite a storyteller to visit your class.

Invite an experienced storyteller to your class—one who will involve the students in the stories.

  • Young writers benefit from working with mentors.

Plan a day (or a week) when older students come to work with your young students on a writing project. Direct the older students to assist as needed by adding letters or words that the children cannot yet write. The mentors must be encouragers, without taking over the ideas and plans for their young friends. Make the project sufficiently involved to require assistance.

  • Tell stories together.

Invite members of a high-school drama team to visit your class. Have them do an impromptu add-on story for the children. One member of the team begins the story and the others contribute until the story ends. Your children can do something similar sitting in a circle and passing an object from person to person. Whoever holds the object contributes the next part of the story. For added structure, divide the circle into the story’s beginning, middle, and ending.

  • Use pictures to tell stories.

Share picture books in a variety of illustration styles with the class. Ask the children how the colors and pictures make them feel. Let the children tell what they think is happening throughout the book, simply by looking at the pictures. Then read the story aloud and compare their version with the real thing. Look online for the home pages of well-known illustrators. Many illustrators and authors have pages on the Internet where children can visit and interact. For more information, check out the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

  • Relate stories using body movements.

Finger plays are one way to help children interact with the words in a story. You can also do a shared writing activity that incorporates “doing” words in the text; then have children act it out—for example: I bounce the ball. The dog grabs the ball. The dog runs away. Also consider asking children to “dance” a story. Read them part of “The Nutcracker,” and show the corresponding portion of the video so they can see how the story is danced.

  • Share stories by singing.

Most songs tell a story. Play some children’s songs, and then have children retell the stories using their own words. Find picture books based on familiar children’s songs and share them with children. Encourage those who are so inclined to write a story and sing it to the class.

  • Stage stories with puppets.

Throughout the school year, explore different kinds of puppets with the children: shadow puppets, finger puppets, stick puppets, paper-bag puppets. Create an impromptu (or more permanent) puppet stage. Drape a curtain over a rope, use a cardboard box, or drape a table big enough to hide behind. Have children tell stories using puppets. Begin with simple, well-known stories like “The Three Bears.” Then have children tell their own stories, using puppets they’ve made. Remind the children that puppet shows can be simple one-character activities, like choosing a puppet to “read” one of their stories to the class.

  • Dramatize stories through plays.

Don’t forget to use peer teachers as resources. A third-grade class from your school, for example, might enjoy performing simple plays for your kindergarten class. Remind your young children to be good, quiet listeners when they are in the audience.

  • Play a story-writing game.

Play a “beginning, middle, and ending game” with the children. You write a beginning and an ending sentence on the board or chart, and the children dictate a sentence to fill in the middle. Repeat the same activity, but ask the children to provide a different part of the story—either the beginning or the ending sentence. Encourage children to play this game in groups of three, with each child contributing a part of the story.

  • Write and tell stories to share at home.

Parents read and tell stories to their children. Ask the children to reciprocate by writing a story to take home and read to their parents or caregivers. As you read and tell stories to your students, remind them to share these with their families.

LAFS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

Related Resource Tags

Click to view a list of tags that tie into other resources on our site

English Language Arts: