Friday, May 3, 2013

5 Ways to Make English Story Telling More Interesting for Young ESL Students

by James Sadler

Story telling is as old as human civilization. It is one of the most important methods of entertainment. For ESL students, however, story telling has to be taken to the next level. The following are 5 ways to make story telling more interesting for ESL students.

1) Picking the right book

Picking the right book is essential in a good story telling session. The book has to serve many purposes. The content has to be understood by the audience. If it is not, the students will soon lose interest and stop paying attention.

The content should also be interesting for the students as well. The best way to find out what is interesting for your students is to ask them what they like, or get them to help you pick the books.

2) Familiarize yourself with the content

There is nothing more embarrassing than picking up a book to read to a group of students, and then not being able to read is smoothly, or make it interesting.

Put yourself in your students place, listening to a teacher drone on and on about a topic you are interested in, but the voice and body language is so boring you are quickly distracted by something else.

3) Plan out your reactions to the content

Below are some examples of some reactions to content you can have. The important thing is that you plan what your actions are going to be before you start telling the story.

You should look at every page and think of some funny things do say or do to make the content more interesting. After all, the children are not first language learners, so they need extra stuff to keep their interest.

4) Cater the book to the audience to ensure comprehension

Make sure you adapt the content to the audience. Picking the right book will help, but conveying the content is even more important. Make sure you have set your learning objectives clearly before you start, and don't try to teach too much.

If the content in the books script is too difficult, don't necessarily give the book up. Just make your own more simple story to go with the pictures.

5) Controlling your emotional outlook

I have spend many a night in front of my mirror practicing this skill! Being able to control what emotion you portray is a skill that needs to be developed. If you are very good at it, however, you can really have a fun and interesting lesson.

The six basic emotions, sad, fear, scared, tender, angry and excited should be mastered in order to really make lessons interesting.

James Sadler, ESL Teacher

Checkout more about teaching English in China at

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