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Stories for Teaching English: Suitable Options for Different Age Groups

Stories for Teaching English: Suitable Options for Different Age Groups | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Using stories and storytelling as teaching strategies in foreign language education is effective for students of all ages. Stories are a powerful tool for transmitting social and cultural heritage, and they engage students by allowing them to identify with characters and become invested in the outcomes. When teaching English to children, teenagers, and adults, it is important to select stories that are gripping, relatable, and relevant to their respective age groups.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author, an alumni of ITTT (International TEFL and TESOL Training). They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of ITTT. The content provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as official endorsement or representation by ITTT.

Stories for Children

For young learners, fairytales with distinct characters, clear moral lessons, and talking animals are most enjoyable. These stories captivate children's imaginations and help them differentiate between good and bad. Incorporating movement and action, such as through theater performances, is beneficial for engaging their attention spans and facilitating subconscious learning.

Stories for Teenagers

Teenagers prefer stories that they can relate to, which touch on topics such as teenage struggles, friendships, and coming of age. Avoid excessive movement or activities that may embarrass them in front of their peers. Focus on enhancing their memorization skills by assigning activities like reading a short story and having them complete it. Recognize that their motivation may be lower compared to other age groups.

Stories for Adults

Storytelling remains an effective strategy for adults to practice vocabulary and develop speaking, listening, and writing skills. The range of topics and genres is broad, allowing teachers to choose stories based on students' interests and goals, such as work, travel, or personal enrichment. However, sensitive subjects like politics and cultural matters should be approached with caution to avoid discomfort or controversy.

Improving Receptive and Productive Skills

Stories can enhance both receptive (reading and listening) and productive (writing and speaking) skills. Language learners typically grasp reading and listening skills before writing and speaking. Selecting stories at an appropriate level is crucial to maintain motivation and comprehension. Encouraging students to read outside the classroom and emphasizing the importance of understanding context over literal translation further aids their language development.


Incorporating stories into English language teaching offers a valuable approach for engaging students of all ages. By carefully selecting stories suitable for each age group, educators can create an immersive and effective learning environment that fosters language development and promotes a love for storytelling.


Holmes. (2019). Receptive skills for English teachers: how to teach listening and reading. English for ASIA. Retrieved June 23, 2023, from

British Council. (2023). Short stories. Retrieved June 23, 2023, from

NPR. (2012, August 7). Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels. Retrieved June 23, 2023, from

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