How To Use Stories To Engage Children With EAL

This article has been written by storytelling specialists, Tonya and Natasha, from Little Creative Days 

Are you looking for new ways to engage those with EAL?

Stories are used in cultures all over the world and there are many versions of some of the most well-known stories.  I think we’ve found 14 different versions of Cinderella and there are probably more! So, using traditional tales and stories in your school or setting can be an ideal way of engaging children with EAL as its likely that they will be familiar with a version of the story.  This will help them to understand similarities and differences, which is a crucial thinking skill, and also to understand and develop language.

Stories are a great way to help children put new vocabulary into context as well as learning how to model language in a meaningful way. It also helps them to understand language structure such as questions, commands and exclamations because as you tell a story you will be able to act it out with them so this will help them understand more from your tone of voice and actions.  You will really need to exaggerate your actions, this will increase understanding and make it more fun.

So how can you use stories to engage children with EAL?

Look for stories with repetition or maybe something the children can sing as this will help them to learn how to form the words and practice the sounds. Children need an opportunity to practice making the sounds and this is an ideal way to do that.

Also look for stories with actions as these are helpful for giving greater meaning to the words you want them to learn. Children may also find it easier to learn the actions with the words which creates much better word association.

Puppets are also a brilliant way to engage the children especially if they make the puppets themselves because they form a greater attachment to them. The children will be keen to make the puppets talk so will pay more attention to learning new words and practising those words.

These are just a few ideas, but if you want to find out more about how to use stories for those with EAL then why not come along to our Using Stories & Puppets for EAL Workshop on the 5th April 2019 and get some hands-on practical advice for this important topic.

Little Creative Days

little creative days

Tonya and Natasha, the storytelling sisters, are authors of a series of books about a little dog called Pojo who gets itchy paws and goes off on adventures.

They have won multiple awards for their puppet making kits that accompany the stories including Teach Early Years Excellence award for Communication and Language Resource.

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