Oral Storytelling with Families

Help to support oral language in the homes of your students.

Last month I wrote about our need to build oral language in order to support the reading and writing of our students.  We can do this in so many different ways: routines we establish, lessons that we plan, or the games we play.  But most of the language that students acquire comes from their homes.  How can we help to support families?

We can support families in a variety of ways from the type of homework that we send home to the events that we host at our schools.  This is one addition that we have made at our school.  My teammates and I host a monthly game night to encourage language and problem solving skills with our students.  Each month we invite families to enjoy a meal and time together.  We have highlighted games such as checkers, puzzles, pictionary, and heads-up, (just to name a few).

Help to support oral language in the homes of your students.
This past month we decided to try out story cubes and we titled it "Stories and Soup."  The inspiration came from a game that my own children received last year called "Rory's Story Cubes." Each cube has six images on it.  Once the dice are rolled, a story can be made up using the images on the cubes!  Here is an example of what the images look like on Rory's Story Cubes.
Help to support oral language in the homes of your students.
Not only did I want my families to play this game at our event, but I wanted them to take home their own cubes so that the stories could continue!  Here is what we purchased for our Stories and Soup night: 70 cans of soup (Aldi had some great prices!), 4 cubes per family, round labels, and directions.

The wooden 1 inch cubes that we use to teach 3D shapes worked perfectly for our story cubes!  I was able to find a box of 50 from Amazon, as well as, round 1-inch labels that I was able to print and stick right on the cubes!
I decided to do 4 cubes per family because I thought that seemed like an appropriate amount for PreK-2 families just learning to play.  But I did want to add variety to the games that could be played with the cubes.  So I looked up some different ideas online and altered the directions to fit the objective of my game night.

When each family walked in they received a bag that included four cubes and the five game direction cards.  They also got some paper and a pencil in case they wanted to write their story down. 

Help to support oral language in the homes of our students.
This game was very different than anything we have offered at previous events.  There was no winner.  There was no game board.  And there were no teams.  But it was a hit!!  Families reported that they enjoyed coming up with stories together, listening to each other, and they were excited to take it home to play some more.

This is just one event, one moment, one way to boost oral language.  But all these small efforts add up and the hope is that they will have a big impact on our students and their learning.

If you would like to pin for later:
Help to support oral language in the homes of your students.

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