If you are teaching English at preschool you may already know that preschool children can learn a foreign language without really trying, they just soak it up like a sponge! However you as the teacher must facilitate the learning process and really make it happen. To do that you need to know how to engage the little ones.
Preschool children have short attention spans
If you do not know how to attract and keep their attention, then you are going to be lost at sea with the children not paying any attention to you and not learning anything. That is a demoralizing place to be as Kathryn Williams found out at her first lessons: "I volunteered to teach children 3-5 years old and the first day I bombed so bad, I was afraid some of the parents might not come back. I have spent hours, days, months and money I do not have, and I still found myself in a panic repeating 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes', parents in tow."
Fortunately you have come to the right place for a solution to this problem. Read on to find out how to use fun ESL short stories in class, and also what you need to be an effective and engaging preschool teacher.
Young children love stories and ask to hear the same ones over and over again. This is strange when you think that they already know the story inside out, and they still want to hear it again, but it’s fantastic from a language learning point of view.
As soon as you start telling a story suddenly your little pupils are mesmerized, silent and will sit quietly staring at the story pictures. It’s amazing the effect the stories have on them!
Please bear in mind that you cannot tell a story without proper preparation. Key vocabulary, phrases and sentences from the story need to be taught first using language games (such as these ones)
Once you have prepared the children with fun vocabulary games and activities, you are ready to read the story.
10 great reasons to use stories to teach English at kindergarten:
- Children love them
- The story can be the focal point of the lesson, giving meaning and context to odd words and phrases learned in isolation.
- Children can absorb the structure of language subconsciously as well as hear familiar words they know.
- Preschoolers will be happy to hear the same stories over and over again, which is fantastic for revision and absorption.
- You can use the stories as a base for fun activities in class.
- A useful message can be contained in the story, aside from language learning.
- Using stories gives you another method of putting language across and will lead to more variety in your lessons.
- You can use stories as quiet time in between boisterous activities.
- Stories, along with songs, allow children to hear and understand far more English than any other method.
- Enhancing story telling with gestures, actions, colourful illustrations, relevant games and role-playing increases language retention and acquisition, and makes for fun lessons. This is logical as you will be repeatedly reviewing the same language as well as making it real through play.
How these stories work
This curriculum of stories is especially written for preschool and young primary English language learners. The first 20 are for ages 3 to 6, although teachers repeatedly tell me older children enjoy them also. The complete series of stories goes through to prepare for the A1 European Language Certificate.
Vocabulary and language is introduced gently and progressively using a combination of new language and revision of what has been covered.
This method makes these stories a perfect ESL teaching resource because not too much language is introduced at one time, so even three year old language learners will understand and learn from these stories, and gradually build their vocabulary.
Each story is beautifully illustrated in colour so the children can listen and understand easily. You can see examples of the pictures from the different stories below, as well as the language that will be learned and reviewed from that story.
Feedback from one of the many teachers using my ESL short stories to teach English:
I have taught the first 3 stories already and the children loved it. They loved it so much that they memorised all the lines. I did not ask them to memorise the lines, it was their idea and you know how hard it is to make a little kid memorise the lines you want him to. I really like the way you make the sentences for the stories, in form of patterns. It is the best way for the international students to learn English. And the students not only memorised the patterns but they remembered them well even weeks later. Mihaela Coclea, Yantai, China
Topics and language covered
The first story introduces seven animals and the greeting, "Hello, how are you?", "I'm fine thanks" and "I'm hungry". The animals are all cute and friendly looking and use the same language throughout the story.
The second story introduces a few more and includes the animals from the first story. The children will learn and animals and practise counting to ten as Anna goes to the zoo, sees the animals and counts how many there are.
The third story revises counting and introduces colours as Archie jumps round a course of colourful jumps on his pony, and things do not always go as expected!
The fourth story revises the greeting from story one, and colours and animals. Some new words from nature are introduced such as grass, flower, pond and path, plus the short phrases "Is that you?" and "No, it's me". There are some fun games to play with those phrases.
The fifth story involves a group of ten cute little ants which are marching down a path, and which drop off to sleep one by one in different places. This revises the word ant, all the numbers and the colours from stories two and three, the nouns from story four and introduces some new words plus the short phrases "I'm tired" and "falls asleep".
The sixth story stars a very cute cocker spaniel and revises several the nouns from stories four and five and introduces action verbs such as run, shout, walk and chase.
In the seventh story the cute cocker spaniel chases some ducks and loses her master. This story revises vocabulary from previous stories and introduces more action verbs.
Story eight involves an ant which has a hard time getting his teddy bear to go to sleep. Again there is a mixture of revision and new words and phrases, including some more action verbs and "I'm tired" and "I'm not tired". "The kids absolutely adore stories 1-10. The big favourite here is the bear with his own teddy bear, they think that's really funny and ask for this story over and over (though by now it's THEM telling ME the story!" from Genevra Keywood, teaching in Spain"
In story nine Hetty invites a lion to tea. This story revises greetings and some vocabulary from previous stories, and introduces fruits and the question "would you like some …?"
And story ten introduces the days of the week and Gerard the Giraffe who eats far too much. You can use the numbers 1 to 7 if the days of the week are too hard. The story also revises the vocabulary from story nine.
The stories all have adorable characters or a cute twist at the end that appeals to preschool children.
Pre-teach language with fun games before telling the story
Each story comes with a lesson plan made of games and flashcards.
It is recommended to play games and activities before the story to introduce the key vocabulary. And after the story you have the children act out the characters while you read the story again and play games using the illustrations.
Full details and descriptions are provided for pre and post story games and activities. This means that you do not have to spend time searching for ideas as they are already included.
There are enough pre and post story ideas here to keep you occupied for many lessons.
As well as the story-related games and activities you play before and after the story-telling itself, there are tips on the different things that you can do while you are telling the story. This will vary depending on whether it is the first time you are telling the story or if the children already know it well and keep requesting to hear it again.
The better the children know the story and the words involved the more they can participate in the telling of the story and be actively involved rather than just passively listening.
Another teacher experiencing great success! You too can be really successful with these stories:
What took me days to figure out piling over internet sites and going to the library now takes me an hour with Shelley's program and you can quote me on that! I just cannot even put into words what your website has meant to me! This incredible gift of pure knowledge and ideas, has saved me! Thank you, so very tremendously, for your stories, activities and ideas for keeping this very active age of 3-5 year olds engaged. I see the looks on the parents’ faces and the children are opening up more and more each class. You make me look so good! Kathryn Williams, USA, March 2014
Please order on this link
Super Bonus! Flashcards in Colour to Teach Vocabulary
To pre-teach key vocabulary before reading a story, and to revise it in games afterwards, you will need picture flashcards of the target language, as it is not always possible to have real or model items to hand.
These are in addition to the story illustrations and you can use these for introducing new words and reviewing them. I have had these drawn and coloured by an artist and you will be able to download and print them off. This way you will have everything you need for the lessons - all the ideas and the materials combined, saving you time and money.
I hope you will be keen to introduce your preschoolers to the delightful characters in the stories, as well as have fun playing the many games in the lesson plans.
In this teaching kit there are ten stories with ten lesson plans and flashcards. Optionally there are songs to go with them using the same words and phrases to reinforce learning still further and brighten up your classroom with music.
Bear in mind that I do offer a 60-day guarantee so if you are not completely satisfied you can ask for a refund.
I am sure you will love it, but the guarantee is there so that you can try this teaching resource out at no risk to you.
So download your Preschool Teaching Kit here:
10 Colour Stories with Lesson Plans and Vocabulary Flashcards
Prefer to order by phone? Please email me for a phone appointment. If it is urgent my mobile in France is +33 6 83 90 15 33 (not in the middle of the night please!)
You can download the games and stories now and be using them tomorrow!
Shelley Ann Vernon
Teaching English Games
P.S. I know your young pupils are going to be motivated to learn English with you when you use these fun stories and that you will never be stuck for an idea again. Read the dozens of comments from teachers using this resource and how much it helps them here.
Included for only 39.95 USD:
- Ten stories specifically written for ESL pre-school and young primary school children with beautiful full colour illustrations.
- Games and activities especially written to use before, during and after telling the story to pre-teach and revise key vocabulary and language.
- Tips and ideas to use during the story telling itself.
- Original colour flashcards to use in games to pre-teach or revise vocabulary.
To access the games, stories and all bonuses today, while the price is still 39.95 US Dollars, and while all the bonuses are still included in that price, please click below to go through to the order page.