Preschool children soak up a language like a sponge! They can learn a foreign language without really trying, but you need to know how to capture and hold their interest, because preschool and kindergarten children have a short attention span!
If you do not know how to attract and keep their attention, then you are going to be lost at sea with the children ignoring you and not learning anything. That is a demoralizing place to be as this teacher 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." Kathryn Williams, USA
Fortunately, you have come to the right place for a solution to this problem. Read on to find out more about teaching preschoolers with stories, and what you need to be an effective and engaging preschool teacher.
Benefits of using stories
ESL Stories are an ideal way to intrinsically motivate your preschoolers; children love listening to stories so you are halfway there. The rest is about making the story interesting and colourful and Shelley’s ESL Stories enable you to do just that.
What results you can expect
Scheherazade captivated Bluebeard by telling him a story every night, 1001 Arabian Nights actually and was rewarded by a pardon and her life. What a graphic example of the influence of stories! Do not underestimate the power and benefits of telling stories to preschoolers and get ready to be amazed as Aladdin was when he rubbed the lamp and the Genii appeared. No Genii here, but tangible building blocks for developing minds. Here are just some of the significant aspects:
1. Rapid Progression and improvement in vocabulary and comprehension
Children absorb a language at this age rather than consciously learning it as older children do. The more English is heard, the more likely the preschooler will acquire it; so what better way than telling stories where words have a meaning in context, the tone and melody of the spoken word giving elegant examples of pronunciation and flow patterns. Research over 75 years comes up with the same conclusions, reading aloud to children builds vocabulary, comprehension while they are naturally soaking up proper grammar and word usage. ESL Stories are original, lively and spellbinding that you won’t find elsewhere, written ingeniously revising and repeating key vocabulary.
2. Improved behavioural and listening skills
Learning English through listening to Shelley’s ESL Stories is an ideal way to improve listening skills. 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!
A useful message can be contained in the story, aside from language learning. Also, different topics are covered, introducing new concepts of the wider world. In any case children love them.
3. Improved teacher child relationship
Reading stories together is fun! As a teacher, you are a model for your captive audience, and your interpretation is an important skill in this enjoyable experience. Preschoolers want to please you, as the new adult in their lives, so they are more likely to be attentive and relaxed but focused. As teachers, we know that a close relationship between you and your charges is productive; research backs that up by finding significantly superior results.
How to get the best out of Stories
1. Preparation is key
Please bear in mind that you cannot tell a story without preparing pupils properly. Key vocabulary, phrases and sentences from the story need to be taught first using language games. Once you have prepared the children with fun vocabulary games and activities, you are ready to read the story.
Rehearse telling the stories.
Bring in real objects when you can, such as clothes to dress up in, or props for acting out little plays or stories. When you cannot bring in real items use whatever objects are available in your class, and use bright pictures of real items in the games.
Bring in puppets or teddy bears and have the puppet introduce the new vocabulary for the lesson. If you do not have a puppet you can make one from a paper bag, or by sewing a couple of buttons on a sock.
2. Teaching guidance notes
Enhancing story telling
Stories, along with songs, allow children to hear and understand far more English than any other method. The story can be the focal point of the lesson, giving meaning and context to odd words and phrases learned in isolation.
Stories can be used tactically
This curriculum of stories is especially written for preschool and young primary English language learners. Vocabulary and language is introduced gently and progressively using a combination of new language and revision of what has been covered. 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.
Make it happen!