Action Tips: Teach Literacy Through Storytelling


According to The Department of Education, children who live below the poverty line or come from a non-English speaking home are much more likely to fall behind their peers in reading skills. What's worse, the inequality starts between kindergarten and 3rd grade.

Engage children with storytelling to teach them spelling and other literary skills.

Find your audience

  • Try offering your services to an under-served elementary school.
  • Ask the local library if you can volunteer to lead the activity there.
  • See if your place of worship can put you in touch with a place where children would need this help, such as a partnering church.
  • Offer the activity to the local shelter.

Find your story

Think of a really engaging children's book to read out loud. Make sure that it:

  • is very entertaining. You'll want to make faces, motions, and really engage the kids.
  • has learning tools to work with. Does the story have good words to practice spelling and other skills?

Determine your lesson

Based on the story, what things can you teach?

  • Spelling
  • conjunctions
  • nouns vs. verbs
  • The use of apostrophe
  • When to capitalize a word

Set the activity

  • Prepare paper and crayons for them to write what you are teaching.
  • In certain parts of the book, stop and ask everyone to spell a word that you just used from the story.You can spell it out loud for everyone.
  • Does your story use it AND it's? Make sure everyone knows the difference.
  • You get the idea. Just remember to be creative.

Also remember...

Remember to be very energetic and loud. Kids respond to big motions and excited faces, so make the story as silly and engaging as possible.

Start an awareness campaign about this issue at your school. GO