Storytelling Made Simple
Telling stories is the most natural way of passing on information. Whether it’s folk tales, cautionary tales, general knowledge or new language; a story gives meaning, context and creates interest. All of this makes it a “no brainer” as to why we should include them in our English classes.
Finding leveled language set in interesting situations for young and very young learners can be challenging. EKI has your back. Our storyboards are targeted at specific age ranges to appeal to our students developmental level, while giving you, the teacher, the chance to introduce and review language naturally.
Topics and imagery are designed to appeal to students from kindergarten through elementary school and are closely matched to the current Japanese Ministry of Education’s curriculum, to ensure crossover of vocabulary, target language and international understanding.
Being exposed to longer passages of language is a key part of elementary school English learning. Creating these lengthier materials that hold students interest can be difficult for both HRT and ALT. EKI Storyboards give the structure needed to allow students to enjoy and understand these longer passages. Coupled with the iterative nature of the stories even our youngest learners can enjoy and grasp the meaning of the stories.
In an ever more digital world where students can stream videos and find examples of language online, creating opportunities for meaningful interaction between people is of increasing importance. EKI storyboards allow the HRT and ALT to play the part of characters in the story showing the importance of verbal and non verbal communication. The supplied leveled language gives a base that teachers can build from to match their students level and adlibs are encouraged to give more nuance and enjoyment!
Classroom management may also improve as “story-time” indicates a lowering of the pace, while keeping the students actively engaged in the language. Story-time for younger learners is often associated with fond memories of a teacher telling well loved traditional Japanese stories using large cards with images. EKI Storyboards tap into this to create a “quiet time” where students are encouraged to think and understand for themselves. A welcome break in some classrooms!
EKI’s recommended method of telling the stories ensures a structured progression from active listening, through participation with Q&A or taking a role, working toward a place where students can retell the stories themselves to their peers. Iteration is a key point. The stories allow the teller to repeat key phrases at an appropriate level for the learners giving ample opportunity for your students to hear, and absorb the language before challenging them to become involved and participate in the story themselves.
The stories allow for the same story to be used while increasing the complexity of the basic language point. Starting with a simple statement “I’m happy” the same phrase can be re-iterated to allow for a response - “I’m happy! How about you?” this can be recycled once more to a question and answer pattern - “How are you? I’m happy!”
Including EKI storyboards in your classes has multiple benefits for both ALTs and HRTs. Initially a meeting (uchiawase) will be needed to ensure that roles are clear and that the story is a success, however as you both get used to the storyboard format and style EKI storyboards become almost no-prep options for your classroom. Following a regular pattern where the storyboard provides input for your students followed up by allowing time for students to discuss what they heard and understood ensures that students are actively learning and receiving praise from their teachers on understanding language, context and concepts.