According to the national literacy organization Reading Rockets, teachers who have their students spend at least half of the day engaging in reading and writing activities were the most effective when it came the students' educational outcomes. If you're looking for ways to boost your literacy time, story-based learning activities promote key language and writing concepts that primary school children must master to move on.
Hide and Seek
If you're looking for a creative way to teach basics such as vocabulary, using a story for a word hunt activity offers primary school students the opportunity to think critically while learning literacy skills. Instead of just having your young students memorize words on a list, have them hunt and seek for the words in a short story. The students can look for specific vocabulary words or search for ones that have a pattern such as "sh" or "ou" words. You can also use this story-based activity to bridge other nonliteracy subjects. Have the children look for new science or social studies vocabulary in a story, writing them down along with the definitions that they decipher from the context.
According to the Center on Instruction, by first grade, teachers can begin to introduce story structure as a way to improve overall reading comprehension. Help your students to develop or build on this knowledge with a story dissection. Have your students read a short story -- or read one to them -- that they can then dismantle. Give the students, depending on their grade level, specific narrative elements to look for -- such as plot, characters, point of view or sequence of events. Ask the children to either write down the information that they pull out onto a piece of paper under subject headings -- such as plot, characters and so on -- or work as a group, writing these on the board.
Get hands-on in the literacy learning process and have your students act out classroom stories. Start with a story that is already in your class curriculum. Try a classic fairytale or folktale that either the children read or you read to them. Have the students familiarize themselves with the plot, sequence, characters and meaning of the tales by having them act out the story. The students can either give a theatrical rendition of the story or retell it while acting it out.
Turn story time into a concrete activity that the students can take home with them or display in the classroom as a lasting reminder of what they are learning. Invite your primary school students to transform what they read into a picture, painting, sculpture, diorama or collage. Instead of having the students verbally answer questions that you have about the story's theme, ask them to draw them out or create an artwork that speaks of the narrative. For example, have your third graders turn the setting for a classroom story into a shoebox diorama. Add in characters by sculpting modeling clay figures and placing them inside of the diorama setting. Have the students label their artwork with a title that fits the story, rephrasing it, but not exactly repeating it.
- Reading Rockets: The Six Ts of Effective Elementary Literacy Instruction; Richard Allington
- Reading Rockets: Word Hunts
- Center on Instruction: Teaching All Students to Read in Elementary School: A Guide for Principals
- EducationWorld: Once Upon a Time: Lessons for Teaching About Fables, Fairy Tales, Folktales, Legends, Myths, Tall Tales
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