Stories are a key, educational tool that favors language skills, transmits knowledge, works with emotions and empowers the imagination of the little ones. Aside from reading, stories allow plenty of room for those activities that contribute to the integral development of the child. Such activities can be done before or after reading.
These activities, also known as “tuning-in” tasks, are important because with them we activate prior knowledge and help children to become familiar with the content and theme of the story. Besides, this moment can prove to be beneficial for motivating the actual reading of the story, creating suspense and anticipation as to what will come next. We’d like to recommend some key features:
- To activate prior knowledge regarding the theme of the story, ask children what they know about the characters in the story or the places on the cover.
- To predict the plot, ask them to pay close attention to the first illustration and pose the following questions: What can this story be about? What do you think the characters in the story are doing? How will the story end?
These activities will help us to build up comprehension, regarding the story. We’d like to make a few suggestions as to how you can work on reading and oral expression comprehension skills:
- Ask children to discuss in class if the predictions they made, came true.
- Illustrate the moral of the story and the main idea.
- Make a new cover for the story and come up with a new title that goes well with the story they read.
- Change the ending of the story, making sure both the essence and moral stay the same.
- Come up with a similar story, changing the characters and the setting, but making sure you still pass through the same main idea and moral.
- Prepare questions about the story for group discussion:
- Which adventure and which character did you like most? Why?
- Why did this character do something in particular? What would you have done, if you were him/her?
- What are the traits of this one character in particular?
- Put the story scenes in order and make a sequence timeline, just like events unfold in the story. Depending on their level, children can use simple phrases or story extracts instead of drawings.
All these activities can be done at home or in class, to make the best out of this key, pedagogical resource during childhood.