Play It Up During Storytime! 3 Ways To Inspire your ESL Students With Drama!


Play It Up During Storytime! 3 Ways To Inspire your ESL Students With Drama!

Play It Up During Storytime! 3 Ways To Inspire your ESL Students With Drama!

For students learning English as a second language, storytelling is a fantastic way to cross the language barrier because it’s part of the human experience and is present in every culture. You can use this to your advantage as an ESL teacher by combining storytelling with dramatization to pull in your students and help them really enjoy learning English. You might even inspire them to create their own stories!

You can dramatize your storytelling using some simple drama techniques

Here are 3 simple ways to get started:

1. Start by speaking more slowly, with more emphasis on your words using your intonation. You can even repeat some keywords or actions as you read along to check your students’ comprehension.

2. Use different voices to engage your students. Try whispering part of the story to create suspense or singing part of the story to make your students laugh. Change your voice pitch, tone and ask the children simple questions as you read the story to keep them focused and participative.

3. Exaggerate your facial expressions and physical movements. Try wearing a simple costume (hat, cloak, spectacles etc.) and incorporate some fun props to set the scene of the story and create a magical atmosphere. Finally, try having  students act out and recreate the story themselves. By inspiring children to create their own fantasy worlds their language skills and confidence quickly improve.

When it comes to incorporating these techniques in your classroom, a good place to start is picking out a good storybook. As I demonstrate in my Youtube video, a simple story with good visuals is key. It gives you room to dramatize the story.

Will You Be My Friend? by Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar,  is an excellent storybook choice for several reasons. The story itself is simple with little text. Most importantly, the visuals of the story are engaging. The tail of an animal is shown at first and then the grand reveal is on the next page. This is an easy one to engage students with because you can have them guess what the next animal is and you can play up the characters with different voices.

Other great storybook ideas are:

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  2. Brown Bear – Eric Carle
  3. Good News Bad News – Jeff Maki
  4. Dear Zoo – Rod Campbell
  5. The Colour Monster –  Anna Llenas
  6. Pete The Cat –  Eric Litwin

For more ideas on how to teach English through drama, download the free e-book, Teach Children English Through Drama.

Visit the Kids English Theatre Youtube Channel for more drama games, language exercises, puppetting demos, and other fun ideas to make your lessons fun and unforgettable. 

Be Theatrical!


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