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Types of Stories to Use for Teaching English to Different Groups of Students

Types of Stories to Use for Teaching English to Different Groups of Students | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Stories serve to be entertaining and educational in most cultures. A nice bedtime story for young children becomes a ritual in a lot of families nowadays, it makes up a sweet memory for a lot of people. When the listener is interested in the story, even when there is no verbal communication between the storyteller and the listener, there is still a bond between them. Therefore, storytelling is such a powerful tool teacher could use. Storytelling could make the lesson more interesting and memorable. To build the bond between the students and the teacher during storytelling, the teacher has to make sure the attention of his/her audiences are fully attracted. To make sure the stories are interesting for students the teacher has to consider several factors when he decides on the type of stories to teach.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate LIN LIN C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Age and Language Level

For children and older learners with limited English levels, simple stories are preferred. These are stories using very simple repetitive words, it is even more helpful if pictures are also illustrated.

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For Children

A good example we could use is “No, David!” by David Shannon, this is a fun book to teach Children and beginner English students as the book contains repetitive and straightforward comments by David’s mother and a few simple rules David has to follow in the house. It is easy for our students of this level to comprehend especially when the scenario is similar to our students' family life. It is also easy for them to read along and even role play after the teacher read out the story.

Another good story is “The very hungry caterpillar” by Eric Carle, it is easy and fun to read and it contains key words about fruits, days of the week, etc.

However, these may not be suitable for older students and students of a higher English level as they may find it too easy or too boring. Therefore when we choose stories for teenagers, we could find something of interest to them. We can start by teaching well-known stories that they known in their mother tongue such as Snow White, Cinderella, etc. This way, they are familiar with the story contents before they hear it, this may boost their confidence in learning the material. Participation in elicitation exercise is likely to be higher when students are familiar with the story.


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For Older Students

Stories teachers pick for adult learners are usually based on a relatively more mature topic such as stories regarding the social phenomenon, autobiography of famous people, etc. Adult learners will find more connections to these materials and motivated to explore more. A good example would be the story of Princess Diana since it is based on real events that happened, so the students will be able to learn a lot of useful English vocabulary they could use in real life. Such a story also promotes communication in the classroom since it may stimulate discussion and allows students to share their personal opinions.

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In conclusion, it is a difficult task to make all the lessons entertaining and educating, teachers have to put a tremendous effort into selecting the appropriate materials for their students.

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