English Foreign Language classes can accelerate learning if they offer exciting stories for the children to enjoy. People of all ages need to be interested in what they are studying. If you think of your own experience you’ll remember times when you were expected to learn material that held no interest for you. This article suggests ways in which storybooks can be used to spark imagination and creative writing.
How Can We Keep the Kids Interested and Excited About Learning English?
Thinking about what kids like will give us some clues. We suggest a few:
animals – friends – family – machines – space – wizards
games – drawing – singing – sports – talking activities – making things
anticipating something – guessing the ending – rewards – success – praise – being accepted – belonging to a group
The storybooks a teacher uses may be a part of the curriculum or they may be supplementary. The essential point is: How many of the above items do they include? A single storybook won’t provide all of the items but a series of books can involve many of them and the teacher can be the catalyst for many more.
If we choose “animals” then dinosaurs would likely be a popular choice. The story provided below includes an exciting adventure and requires the students to anticipate events. Other popular activities such as talking, drawing, guessing the ending, writing and working together are included.
Give each student a copy of the first part of this story. Do not give them the end of the story until they have done the following.
Bob, Daniella, Nicholas and Sid are the children in this story. They have traveled back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. An enormous creature is attacking them but they are with the wizard, “Tempus”. He is a time traveler and has a sword with magic powers.
Nicholas sees the terrible creature appear from behind a rock.
“Look at that!” he yells.
“Quickly, stand behind me!” commands Tempus. “I’ll need all the strength of my sword to protect us from this creature.”
The great reptile approached as Tempus raised his sword to protect them all.
Bob, Daniella, Nicholas and Sid watch as Tempus swings his sword and great clouds of smoke and sparks surround the creature. As Tempus worked to chase the creature away they could hear the roar of the angry reptile and the swishing of the sword.
Possible Class Activities
– discuss what Tempus and the enormous creature might look like
– discuss their environment
– ask if they would want to travel back to the time of the dinosaurs
– discuss how they would feel
– have the children imagine the scene and draw it
Brainstorm What They Think Will Happen Next
Will the creature be too strong for Tempus?
Will the children need to return to real time in a hurry?
Will Tempus kill the creature or will he scare it away?
Have the students write several sentences or a paragraph telling what they think will happen next.
Have them divide into groups according to what they think will happen. Then they are to tell the other groups why they made that decision.
Distribute the Possible End of the Story
After many minutes had passed, the angry creature ran down over the rocks and away through the water. Tempus turned back and smiled at them all.
“He’s scared,” he said. “He won’t come back.”
“Wow! That was a blast!” they all shouted.
Explain that everyone’s ending was right because they were all storytellers and could create their own ending.