In the fast-paced world of education, where students’ attention spans are shorter than a falling star, it is very hard for teachers to not only give knowledge to their students but also make sure that they remember it. In a world full of distractions, stories stand out as a tried-and-true way to get your point across. As if your classroom were a magical place where lessons come to life and every day becomes magical. This is the power of storytelling—a skill that can move people across time and space and capture their minds.
Teaching is an interesting trip, and teachers who are good at telling stories are the key to getting students interested and making them love learning. Join us as we search for the 13 best tips that will give teachers the tools they need to not only teach but also tell stories that have an impact on their students’ hearts and minds. Let the adventure begin as we discover the magical world where stories are used to teach and everyday things become special.
However, as a teacher for a decade, I have pulled myself through to this proportion. On this page, I will gladly talk about clever tips on how to capture your students’ attention through storytelling.
Storytelling is one of the most impactful teaching strategies to get students’ attention. Knowing that our young learners are quite mesmerized by listening to good stories, we can make use of it to help them remember and understand the information and concepts.
As Muriel Rukeyser puts it, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” So, let’s embark on this food for thought.
Did you notice it too? Even we teachers are fascinated by stories, especially if they concern our experiences. The more relatable a story is, the more it is retained in our memories. And so do our young learners.
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Being a well-tested strategy, I find it really imperative to share interesting ways to capture your students’ attention through storytelling. In a greater sense, it’s my way of collaborating. The integration we can create for this matter will certainly be helpful in creating meaningful and relevant learning experiences for our learners.
Thus, it’s really a wonderful story to tell.
13 Best Tips for Teachers: How to Capture Your Students’ Attention Through Storytelling
1. Illuminate Essential Characters
Take care of the people in the story. Since they are the doers or multidimensional beings in the story, amplifying their worth through your techniques will indeed make students pay attention until the end. Make each essential character exciting.
One thing our students get excited about when listening to stories is the characters. That’s especially true when the characters are relatable. If they are within the experiences of your learners, you should grab the chance to illuminate the characters, especially the major ones.
The analysis of the characters alone can make students take a careful step toward reflection. Since storytelling is a great opportunity to relay information in a cool way, I make it a point that each major character leaves an incredible mark. That is why my young learners always want to become the protagonist in every way. It means that you are influencing their behavior in a subtle way.
Furthermore, the lesson my students gained from the life of the antagonist made them deviate from negative behaviors because they were given a hint of the consequences of having such an attitude.
The great characters in the story have a positive influence on the behavior of young learners. You just have to illuminate them through their dialogues, actions, thoughts, and perspectives.
Just remember, the characters, whether from fiction or non-fiction, make the story meaningful and good. Our students can learn from them.
2. Magnify the Relevance of the Story
Making meaning through storytelling is essential for learning.
Students will get hooked if they can relate to the story. So, if you are creating the story or choosing from brilliant authors around the world, make sure that it is closely knit to the experiences of your learners so they can make meaning of it convincingly.
Simply put, ask your students how they can relate to the story. Ask them about their possible actions if they were in the shoes of the characters or when the events happened in real life. This is the most interesting thing about empathizing.
Doing this is a creative way of making students empathize with the real world.
If the events in the story are very close to the lives of the students, don’t hesitate to share your piece too. Your students will be delighted to listen, especially if your story bears life lessons that are truly inspiring and moving.
Certainly, our young learners can learn from this useful technique.
3. Create a Catchy Beginning
There is an intense scene in the beginning since it creates a big part of the story. It sets the tone. It sets the plot in motion. Hence, you have to pay careful attention to your opening sentences.
Think about it carefully, as it does make sense all throughout the narration of the plot. Moreover, it’s a way of getting your audience hooked on it.
Get your young audience hooked right at the beginning. Aside from making the whole story awe-inspiring, having a catchy beginning sentence or dialog is a good way to have your students listen curiously and attentively.
So, how do we go about the catchy beginning? If you are crafting your own story, click this and it will lead you to incredible ways of beginning a short story.
But if you are researching the most relevant short stories, choose the ones with captivating openings. If the beginning lines are tuneful, rest assured that your students are interested in reading or listening.
4. Use Appropriate Facial Expressions and Gestures
Establish interest and engagement by reading the story or relating it with appropriate facial expressions and gestures. The ups and downs of your eyebrows, the grim on your face, the pouting of your lips, and the movements of your hands illustrate an appealing mood. Of course, maintaining eye contact should always be in the equation.
No matter how good or how perfect the plot is, if you read it with no life, it still won’t make sense. The melodious effect of your narration makes your students stop what they are doing and listen intently.
The way you read it establishes momentum throughout the session. If the sentence carries an exclamation point, then you have to raise your voice and change your facial expression.
Storytellers fail to do this at times. But I believe that you are an exceptional one.
5. Use Visual Aids
Another interesting way of getting our students’ attention is by adding details to your narration. It’s about the glorious use of props or visual aids.
Using props in storytelling brings the story closer to the audience. It magnifies content while making details more vivid for the audience.
This time around, you’ve got to think of the most appropriate props for the storytelling act. As the story unfolds, your students will get more excited and display full comprehension if their interpretations are supported with props and visual materials.
In the classroom, storytelling has been a daily event. Whether you have it on your laptop, narrate from a book, or project it on screen, it’s more effective if the students see a variety of colors and objects. I had this technique when I was still teaching young kids, and it made a difference.
6. Use Sound Effects
Sound effects help tell stories.
Another snappy technique for using storytelling to sustain students’ attention is using sound effects. If the pretty visuals are supported by spontaneous sound effects, rest assured that your learners are all eyes and ears. There’s no need for you to scream ‘attention, please!
Through digital tools, you can create numerous ways to create sound-effect applications. It adds more life to your visual stories.
The shrill, the hush, the whistle, the thunder, and the wind add perfection to your sound design, which helps your students have a full grasp of what’s in the narrative. Adding some background sounds while storytelling will bring out emotions too.
Hence, it’s just right to consider the sound element in your storytelling act to capture your students’ attention.
7. Change Your Voice Depending on Character and Scenario
Of course, stories contain dialogue; they establish intense emotions and marvelous thoughts. One impressive way to bring the characters to life is by reading their dialogue accordingly. Your voice itself is an instant prop that can establish the tone of the whole story.
A good story ought to be read aloud. In my classroom, it’s my way of motivating. I usually set the beginning of each day with a perfect story that is somehow relevant to our major discussions for that day. I find it effective and interesting.
As I do it, I gather my young learners around me at the center. Their curious faces excite me as well. And I read aloud. If it requires my voice to sound like crying, I do it, and I can see the various emotions around me. If I moved them to cry and laugh, it means I have been effective in sharing a good story.
You can try this technique too. Bring out the performer in you. Just imagine the joy you’ll bring if you mimic the sound of the chipmunk. Yes, it can be fun, and your students will enjoy it for sure.
8. Relate the Story Enthusiastically
In storytelling, how you deliver the content will either deepen understanding or cause boredom among your learners. Therefore, it always pays best to read the story enthusiastically but not overdo it.
How do you do it effectively? To further enhance students’ engagement using this technique, it’s always good to read the story in advance from beginning to end before presenting it to your learners.
It’s said that you can better convey the story’s meat if you have a full grasp of it and have made meaning out of it first before sharing it with others.
How you read to your students should be part of your preparation as a teacher. Reading a story full of enthusiasm and motivation will yield positive interaction from the students.
Through your keenness while reading, you bring the happenings in the story alive. Hence, it’s never taken for granted and is unloved. So, choose the most fitting story to share and read it energetically; otherwise, your learners won’t pay attention because they might find it boring and slow.
9. Point Out Vivid Images
As a storyteller, keep in mind that you should be creating images in the minds of your learners. Point out the descriptions. Put emphasis on lines that appeal to the senses and see how it works.
For example, you are teaching adjectives to your young learners. Create a story that will involve materials that appeal to our five senses. With your preliminaries, you can direct your student’s attention to the props you prepared. Then begin from that standpoint. Just be creative with your plot and make sure you don’t deviate from your main concept.
The more the lines in the story create vivid images, the more they appeal to the human senses, and the more concepts are remembered by the students.
Motivation disappears if students can’t picture what’s happening. Therefore, as the storyteller, make your story more convincing by pointing out vivid images. This technique can also work in science and other subject areas.
10. Draw Out the Morale in the Story
I remember when I was still teaching in pre-school, reading towards the end of the story, my young learners couldn’t wait but ask, “What will happen to the antagonist, teacher?” It’s the most interesting part anyway.
The theme of the story should be drawn out essentially. The message of the story should establish interest among your learners. It should lead them to an important realization in their lives, as the meaningful connection it shows in a real-life setting
If they can easily state the message of the story, it means you are an effective storyteller and your story hits your students’ understanding, bull’s eye!
Furthermore, storytelling is an effective way to teach life lessons and inspire young minds. It’s at this moment that students will think about what they do and examine their thoughts and actions. If they do, then your story has been effective and influential.
11. Point Out Real-Life Connections
When crafting your story or choosing fiction, make sure that it’s relatable. By making sure that the details are within the experiences of your learners, rest assured that your students will appreciate it and they will pay attention.
By asking open-ended questions, students will be able to reflect on their own life experiences and they are making meaning of the material being presented. If they do so, it means they are paying attention all throughout
Storytelling is a fantastic way of conveying life experiences. The more you do it, the more you stay connected with your learners. Just make them feel the essence of the story by showing its connection to real-life situations. It’s about being human after all.
12. Make the Students Relate the Story Again
Aside from asking to stop questions on certain parts of your story to check if your students follow, you can ask them to relate the story in their own vivid language.
This should not appear as torture to young minds. How do I do it? I usually post guide questions on the board and go over them before I begin telling the story. I let my students read each question. By doing this, they know what to expect and perhaps they can figure out the answers as we go along.
13. Provide opportunities for interaction
Hit the mark at the beginning. You can ask motivational questions before you begin. Make children think by making predictions of what the story could be about by reading the title.
Depending on your learning objectives, you may ask the students to skim for ideas by reading the title or the first paragraph. It will keep them excited and will give them a push to answer your motivational questions that can spark initial interaction among students.
Predicting outcomes or giving an alternative ending to a story are important skills that hone students’ critical thinking skills. You can have them work in groups and give them opportunities to discuss their ideas to come up with great solutions to the problem presented in the story.
Storytelling, when done interestingly, can become an effective teaching strategy. Remarkably, it has made its way almost everywhere. It’s a tactic to stay connected and to reach out to people, especially to our young learners who are quite diverse and with a big span of interests.
Our young learners can be united through the stories we share. Being the most practical of getting students’ attention, have you tried it in your classroom? How was it?
Share your best storytelling experiences below and I’d love to read each one of them. It’s another wonderful story to share.