There is something magical about storytelling. You choose a book, gather the class around you, and begin:

Coco’s family loved to sing and dance. But Coco’s father wanted to play his music to the whole world. He said goodbye and

And What? What exactly did Coco’s dad do it?

Can you feel yourself being drawn into the story? This is because we are naturally curious beings. It doesn’t take us much to immerse ourselves in the lives of others, which, after all, are stories.

While good storytelling seems natural and effortless, there is actually quite a bit of art behind it. Read six handy tips to make sure your story-time sessions are fun, stimulating – and yes, even magical.

1. Choose the right level for the class

As every teacher knows, there is always a range of English proficiency in every class. It is important to reach the level of understanding of the weaker students in the group. This ensures that as you read, you will grab and keep everyone’s attention. The stronger students will enjoy following the story with ease, while students who need a little more assistance will feel like they understand a story in English.

If you’re unsure how to choose the right book, use the leveling chart on the back of our Disney Kids Readers. The GSE diagram and Lexile® measurement can help you choose the right reader for your student group.

2. Be aware of the interests of your students

Some book titles may remind you of things the children talked about in class: their hobbies, interests, pets, family members, or the types of books they read in their native language.

Let’s take an example. You teach a group of 7 to 8 year olds at A1 level. Some of the students have pets, so you choose to read Disney Kids Level 3 Reader 101 Dalmatians with the class. You introduce storytelling by asking about pets:

  • Who has a pet? Raise your hand
  • Who has a dog
  • Nilsa, what’s your dog’s name?
  • Let’s read a story about dogs.

That way, you capitalize on your students’ interests. It also helps them anticipate what the story is about, which is an important reading skill.

101 Dalmation front page (Dalmation puppies playing on the stairs)

3. Learn the story beforehand

When you have chosen the book, read through it to familiarize yourself with the characters, plot, and attitudes. Then read it aloud several times to practice your pace and delivery. The better your performance, the more fun your class will have listening and reading along with the story.

As part of your preparation, listen to Disney Kids Reader’s enhanced audiobook to hear the pronunciation of names and places in the story. It is always helpful to hear how the professionals read the story, what words they emphasize, where they pause, etc.

You may even prefer to use the audiobook for story time instead of reading it yourself. The music and the dramatic sound effects will surely help determine meaning and context.

4. Predict which words will be new to the class

It is inevitable that the story will contain words and phrases that your students are unfamiliar with. Since we are aiming for maximum understanding, you should decide in advance which keywords (words with meaning: nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs) to teach in advance before reading the story.

To make this task easier for teachers, we have selected keywords that learners may struggle with. These are listed on the back of each Disney Kids Reader in the form of a picture dictionary at levels 1 to 3. A glossary can be found in levels 4 to 6. We have also included a number of handy, photocopied index cards.

Index cards for Disney Kids Readers
Photocopies from level 3: Disney Kids Readers 101 Dalmatians

Word swat: Here’s a fun and easy activity that uses these resources to pre-teach the vocabulary:

  • Display each index card in turn. Say the word and have students repeat it. Glue the cards to the board as they are inserted.
  • Split the class into two teams and give each team a fly swatter.
  • Say a sentence that includes one of the keywords, e.g. Sometimes my dog barks according to.
  • One person from each team runs to the board, hits the correct card and says the word: barks.
  • The fly swatter is passed to the next person on the team and play continues until all cards have been hit.

5. Establish a story time routine

After all the excitement of the games and activities, it’s time to calm the class down for story time. Put away books, stationery, and other distractions. If possible, have everyone sit around you, either on a rug or in chairs. When everyone is calm and serene, it’s time to start storytelling.

Dalmations sleep together

From level 3: Disney Kids Readers 101 Dalmatians, p. 4th

6. Build curiosity and context

Show the front page, read the title, and ask questions to stimulate curiosity and predict aspects of the story, such as:

  • How many puppies can you see?
  • What is a dalmatian?
  • What kind of story do you think this is?

Then contact the In this book Page at the front of the reader and introduce the characters. Say the name as students repeat it, then read the description for each character.

Read the story with the book in front of the group, using your voice and facial expression to make an impact. Alternatively, you can play the audiobook. Take a break to ask questions and point out the picture.

Questions are a great way to engage students with different skills and see if they are doing it, such as:

  • Look!What is Cruella wearing? (A fur coat)
  • Is Cruella a kind person? (No, it’s awful.)
  • She has an idea to have the puppies. What do you think it is (accept all ideas) Let’s find out.

Cruella Devil

From level 3: Disney Kids Readers 101 Dalmatians, p. 13th

Use this approach only at important points in history. Don’t break the flow and magic by over-analyzing each page the first time you read the story.

to learn English

Story time is an enjoyable, stress-free activity for the learners. It’s the first step in building a love of reading. However, you can be sure that reading together will learn a lot of languages: vocabulary building; Making the connection between the printed words, spelling patterns and pronunciation; See language structures in context and use critical thinking skills. Even better, there is a plethora of research showing that reading not only improves reading skills, but also improves listening, speaking, and writing skills.

After you’ve piqued your students’ interest in the story, there are tons of ways to use it as a stepping stone to learning. I’ll be discussing some of these ideas in upcoming blog posts.

And if you’re still wondering what Coco’s father did after he said goodbye, can I suggest reading the book? (Disney Kids Readers Level 3: Coco) It’s great read!

Via Disney Kids Readers

Disney Kids Readers are graded readers who combine the magic of Disney stories with the rigor of the Global Scale of English. They help young learners develop their reading skills in fun and engaging ways in and outside of the classroom. Learn more about Disney Kids Readers.

Are you reluctant to have readers in your class? Read our post on how best to motivate them.


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