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. We show 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. These are simple past, past continuous (or progressive) and past perfect
In our short storytelling course, the learners reviewed the form and use of the tenses. Firstly, they watched a short video clip of a movie star, who was taking part in a ‘chat show’. She told a story about an incident that happened to her when she was a child. The learners were then able to identify the tenses in the transcript of the story. This helped them to 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 do this, we need to describe what was happening and to 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. She was able to give her opinion of 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, these are words that show addition, contrast, reason, (words like and, also, but, although, because, so) and sequencing (then, after). This helps the listener to understand how one action affects another. This means they can follow the events in the story easily and don’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.