Story Time Activities
Introduction (10 mins):
Ask the children to list all the places that they hear stories and record their answers.
Stories are all around us, we tell them to our friends, we watch them on the TV, we listen to them on the radio, we hear people telling someone a story on the phone and we can read about them in books etc.
Question: What makes the stories on the TV or in books interesting enough that people are willing to spend time and money to make them?
Approx. time: 5-10 mins
Age Appropriateness: All ages
Materials required: N/A
Groups of Children: Whole group sitting in a circle.
Introduction: The whole group gathers in a circle. The facilitator explains that they are going to tell a story but each person can only add one word at a time going around in a circle. The facilitator starts the story e.g. ‘The’. The next child in the circle adds the next word e.g. ‘elephant’ and the story continues around the circle one word at a time.
Development: The story travels around the circle until someone says ‘The End’. This can be said by the facilitator when they feel that the time is right.
Conclusion: Ask the children what they thought of their story.
Did everybody say the word that you were thinking would be the best to put next?
Did you want to take over so the story would go the way you wanted?
How did you feel if somebody said something that you thought didn’t fit with the story? etc.
Differentiation: Activity can be repeated using different numbers of words or changing the order of adding a word etc.
Interactive Story-Time Session
The book for the story session should be chosen carefully.
Think about what you want to do with the story after reading, what will be your focus? If you want to use drama activities that deal with the setting of the story, ensure that the book is filled with description. Or if you want to do character based activities/ discussion, make sure the book has characters that the children will identify with and be excited and interested in discussing.
Plan 'stopping points' ahead of time to draw attention to what you want to discuss. Think aloud; I wonder why the Wolf wants to blow down the houses of the three little pigs? I wonder how the Wolf feels when the pigs run away from him? Maybe he just wants to make friends but they won’t let him in?
These stopping points can also be marked in the book with post-it notes for your think aloud session after the story so that you can just focus on reading.
Approx. time: Up to the facilitator
Age Appropriateness: Dependant on difficulty of story and questions asked.
Materials required: Book of facilitator’s choice
Groups of Children: Whole group
Introduction: This activity is dependent on the selected text.
Children are asked to look at the front/ back cover.
Discussion is initiated around children’s predictions of what the story could be about, based on the title and cover illustrations.
Development: Interactive read aloud using any resources available in the library.
Discussion of the story: The facilitator’s questions should be pre-prepared and fall into four categories (as below). They can be asked before the story to give the children something to focus on when listening to the story. They can be asked orally to create a discussion or the children can be given a worksheet and given time to think about their answers before feeding back to the group.
- Right there questions: The answer can be found right in the text. ‘How many pigs were there?’
- Think and search questions: Answers come from several parts of the text and put together to make meaning. ‘What kind of person do you think the Wolf was?
- Author and you questions: The answers to these questions cannot be found directly in the text but the child is required to relate it to their own experiences and to read between the lines ‘Have you ever met anybody like the Wolf?’
- On my own questions: The child must use their own experience to answer the question. ‘How would you feel if your house was blown over?’
Conclusion: Children work in pairs to think up a question to ask the rest of the group. They share their questions and see if anybody can think of the answer.
Differentiation: Older children can be asked harder questions or can read independently instead of listening to a read aloud. The activities mentioned below in following two activities can also be used to allow the children to reflect on this story.
Approx. time: (15-20 mins)
Age Appropriateness: 8+
Materials required: A4 paper per child, pencil.
Groups of Children: Groups of 6
Introduction: Discussion of different ways that stories can be written: single author, two or more authors working together (collaborating) etc.
The facilitor tells the children that they are going to create a story together with each person contributing one piece to the story but without knowing what each other person has contributed. Some examples of possible locations for the characters to meet could be discussed beforehand; at the library, park, circus, moon, dentist, school, hospital (perhaps give examples of high frequency vocabulary for each category: annoying, nice, said, make, etc.)
Development: Children sit in a circle or around a table with a blank sheet of paper. First everybody in the group writes down the name of a girl, this can be someone in the group or a celebrity or a character etc. Then each person folds down the top of the paper until the name is covered and is no longer visible. Each page is then passed to the right. On their new page each child writes down a boy’s name, folds down the top and passes to the right. This continues for each heading, you should never write on the same page twice, unless it has travelled around the circle.
At the end of the game you should be left with a small folded page with the following answers:
- Girl’s name
- Boy’s name
- Where they met
- What he said to her
- What she said to him
- What the neighbours thought about them
- What the consequences were (what happened next)
Conclusion: The children put the folded stories into the centre of the table and mix them up. One by one the children pick a story from the centre and read it to the group. For example; ‘Mary met John on the moon. John said ‘Nice to meet you!’ Mary said ‘Leave me alone stranger!’ The neighbours thought they should tidy up the garden. The consequences were that they won the lotto and moved to France. The end.
Discuss the stories with the children. Did the stories make sense? Why not? Why do authors not write their stories like this? What do you think about story writing after the game? Was it hard to think of something to say when you didn’t know what had been said before? Did you have ideas of how you wanted the story to end/ what should happen next? Is it an interesting story? How could we make it more interesting? If you were going to play again would you do anything different?
Artistic Response to Poem
Approx. time: 30 mins
Age Appropriateness: Senior Groups
Materials required: A3 pages, pencils, pens, story of choice – one copy for each group
Groups of Children: small groups – 3-4
The children will listen to the poem being read aloud. The facilitator will ask a variety of questions based on the poem. In pairs the children will discuss these questions and share them with the group.
Examples of poems that work particularly for this activity, read aloud:
Dentist and the Crocodile by Roald Dahl
The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves by Gwendolyn Brooks
The Fisherman by Abbie Farwell Brown
Each child is given a page on which they will draw an illustration to accompany the poem.
The children can present their illustrations to the group and discuss. If the poem is sourced from a book with an existing illustration, this can now be shown to the children for comparison and discussion.
Think Aloud Activity
Example of a Think Aloud activity using the book:
The True Story of The Three Little Pigs by Liam Farrell (Chapter 2)
As the facilitator of the activity session reads through the story, they ask questions and make observations with the children to further engage them in the story and think more about the characters and the characters’ actions. An example of this activity is in the document at the link below.
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