Tell me a story..(Part 2)

Stories connect us..

In ‘part 1’ of ‘Tell me a story’ we described how a narrative framework provides a structure for a telling a personal story in a clear, coherent way.

In part 2, we explore the forms of grammar and vocabulary that are most commonly found in a personal conversation story, and how we were able to help our learners identify, practice and incorporate them into their own stories in a much more effective and accurate way.

1. Using narrative (past) tenses

  • Because we ‘look back’ in our memory at the events of a story we want to tell, we need to make sure that we are using the tenses that describe past events: simple past, past continuous (or progressive) and past perfect

In our short storytelling course, the learners reviewed the form and use of the tenses. They watched a short video clip of a movie star, who was taking part in a ‘chat show’, telling a story about an incident thathappened to her when she was a child. They were able to identify the tenses in the transcript of the story and discover how the storyteller used the different tense to relate the past events to each other.

2. Using evaluative language

  • To make our stories more interesting we need to be able to say how we felt at the time of the story, to describe what was happening and comment on the events in the story

The learners used the same video clip and the transcript to notice the adjectives, adverbs and phrases that the storyteller used to describe how she felt, to give her opinion on the events and to summarise the story at the end.

3. Using linking and sequencing words

  • A story needs to be cohesive and coherent. This means we need to use appropriate words and phrases to link sentences, for example, words that show addition, contrast, reason, (words like and, also, but, although, because, so)and sequencing (then, after) so that the listener can understand how one action affects another, can follow the events in the story easily, doesn’t become confused!

The learners reviewed and practiced adding linking and sequencing words to some example stories.

Finally, the learners were able to prepare and tell a memorable personal story using all the parts that they had studied on the course.

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