National Storytelling Week

National Storytelling Week

National Storytelling Week is a great opportunity to get your pupils involved and engaged with storytelling. The event was started by The Society of Storytelling in 2000, with the ambition of promoting the ‘oral tradition of storytelling, the very first way of communicating life experiences and the creative imagination’. This year National Storytelling Week is 27th January to 4th February.

In the centuries before writing was commonplace, oral storytelling was the way in which history and stories were passed from one generation to the next. With the advent of social media, the art of verbal storytelling is disappearing, so why not introduce your pupils to this great tradition with our activity ideas for National Storytelling Week below.

National Storytelling Week Activities

Folk Tales

Folk tales are at the heart of traditional storytelling. Why not share a few with your class? Gather your pupils around you and transport them somewhere magical with your story. Some great ones to try are Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack and Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel and Rumpelstiltskin. You don’t have to stick to the book word for word; you can add your own spin to make these familiar tales seem new and exciting.

Once you have introduced your pupils to folk tales, you could ask them to create their own. Confident storytellers could then read their stories of giants, dragons and witches out to the class.

Biography and Autobiography

An easy way to introduce verbal storytelling to your pupils is to ask them to tell an autobiographical story about themselves. This could be the story of their life, or about one of their favourite memories. The benefit is that learners who are not confident writers can just tell their stories without writing them down first. Encourage your pupils to add as much interesting detail and be as engaging as they can.

Alternatively, ask your pupils to write short biographies of any interesting people that you have talked about in class. These could be scientists, authors, artists, figures from history or mathematicians. Why not ask them to research great speakers and storytellers, such as Martin Luther King Jnr, Cicero or Maya Angelou.

Historical Fiction

What period of history are you currently studying with your class? Ask your pupils to imagine that they are living in that era and to write stories set at that time. They could choose from:

  • A servant at the court of Henry VIII
  • An escapee from Pompeii
  • A friend of Cleopatra
  • A spy in Nazi Germany
  • A soldier at the front in World War 1

Your writers should add as much authentic period detail as they can. The stories could be a simple ‘day in life’ narrative, or an account of an exciting historical event; such as the death of Charles I, the Great Fire of London or the Queen’s coronation.

Ask your pupils to share their stories in small groups and encourage them to ask each other questions about the stories and the people in them.

Sharing Stories

What is your favourite children’s story? What was your favourite story when you were the same age as your pupils? Why not share them with your class and explain why you love them so much? Why do you like the characters and the plot so much? How does the story make you feel? If you could write a sequel to the story what would happen?

Once you have shared your story why not ask your pupils to do the same? This could be as a simple book review exercise, or if they are feeling brave enough, they could stand up in class and answer the same questions above.

Getting Dramatic

Of course, one way to tell a story is through theatre. Why not create a mini dramatisation of a scene from the book that you are currently reading as a class, or a class favourite? You could split your class into groups, give each group a scene and then ask them to perform each scene sequentially to the class, creating a multiple-act play.

Rewarding Great Reading and Writing

Did you know that PTS has brilliant classroom rewards for reading, spelling and handwriting? They would be ideal for National Storytelling Week. Take a look at these great ranges to get your pupils motivated with literacy. Our marking stampers are especially popular for quickly reminding pupils about key elements of punctuation.

Pencils make great rewards for brilliant writing in class, or, for your super readers, take a look at our bookmarks.

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