Literacy Teaching Toolkit video: Megawombat storytelling

This video demonstrates how educators can share stories using only the spoken word. The educator creates a new story as she tells it to the children.

Through this experience, children develop their story/narrative skills, as well as their interest in stories, and prehistoric animals.

Reflective practice

Observe

  • The way the educator centres the story around the theme of megafauna that used to live in the present landscape.
  • The educator’s reasons for using storytelling as a teaching practice.
  • The introduction and explanation of key vocabulary (e.g. megafauna).
  • The educator’s use of eye contact, rhythm, voice, characterisation, and gestures to bring the story to life.
  • The way the educator involves the children in finding ways to solve the problems in the story.
  • The discussion of co-constructed narratives, where children and educators create stories together as a storytelling experience.

Reflection questions

  • Why is the setting of the story important for this experience?
  • How does the educator engage children during the storytelling experience?
  • What aspects of story structure are provided during the storytelling?
  • How does the educator report changing her style and focus of the story, based on the reactions and interests of the children?
  • If the children were not about to participate in a drawingtelling experience, what discussion questions could the educator have asked to help facilitate children’s meaning making and recall of the story?

Learning experience plan

This learning experience plan relates to:

  • interacting with others
  • language and emergent literacy learners (30 - 60 months)
  • learning foci: stories and narratives, making meaning and expressing ideas (interacting with others)
  • teaching practice: storytelling.

Links to VEYLDF

Outcome 5: communication

Children engage with a range of texts and get meaning from these texts

  • listen and respond to sounds and patterns in speech, stories and rhyme
  • recognise and engage with written and oral culturally constructed texts.

Victorian Curriculum levels F-2: literacy

  • Share feelings and thoughts about the events and characters in texts 
  • Listen to and respond orally to texts and to the communication of others in informal and structured classroom situations using interaction skills, including listening, while others speak.

Learning intentions

  • Developing children’s awareness of story structure.
  • Facilitating children’s meaning making of the oral text.

Assessment of learning

This is demonstrated when children:

  • respond to questions and provide their own ideas about the characters, plot, reactions, attempts to solve problems, and resolutions
  • demonstrate their understanding of and engagement with the story through comments, suggestions, and participating in discussion.

Resources

  • large outside mat

No other set resources needed.

Group size

  • Small group (2-5 children).

Experience process

Before the experience

  • Introduce children to some of the concepts from the story (e.g. megafauna, wombats and their habitats), and how they relate to real-life experiences of children in nature.
  • Plan what you might include in your story, or if it is a pre-prepared story, make sure you know it well and do not need notes.

1. Introduce the storytelling experience and remind children if you would like them to contribute ideas, make comments, or ask questions during the storytelling:

  • Leave pauses and ask questions to allow children to contribute to the shared meaning making during the experience.

2. Use spoken words, your voice, gestures, body language, facial expressions, and characterisation to engage children in the story:

  • create emotional suspense by emphasising certain words and phrases, and by using pauses
  • use changes in your pitch (voice highs and lows), tempo (speed), and rhythm
  • show changes in the emotions of characters
  • use gestures to go along with key phrases in the story, to help improve meaning making
  • different-sounding voices, body language, and gestures for different characters can be included in the storytelling to enhance the experience.

3. Ensure your story has all the elements of a story:

  • setting
  • characters
  • starting event (or problem)
  • character reactions, feelings and plans
  • characters’ attempts to solve the problem
  • clear resolution
  • themes or messages of the story

4. Allow for discussion and reflection time with the children, so they can share their understandings and favourite parts of the story. This also allows for extended thinking about the story and how it relates to everyday life.

Going further

This experience can be extended by facilitating children’s recount of the story, and their favourite parts of the story through further discussion, play, performing arts, and fine arts (including drawingtelling) experiences. See Megawombat drawingtelling experience.

Additional/alternate resources

This experience can be adapted to any topic, theme, or interest of children. Educators can add elements such as props, costumes, instruments, and visuals, to enhance the storytelling. The experience can also be adapted for facilitating collaborative storytelling (where children each share ideas of where the story will go). See the storytelling teaching practice page for more information.

Related videos and learning experience plans

Videos

Experience plans

Links to sections