launching writing workshop with storytelling

we know the first month of school is filled with excitement and joy for a new year. this blog post is going to focus on possible mini-lessons for launching writing workshop in the primary classroom. our hope is that you can start thinking about some of these lessons before the start of the school year.

you're probably thinking… the start of writing workshop I need to introduce my students to all the tools they need such as markers, crayons, colored pencils, folders etc., we often think that too. 

in most years presenting tools and procedures is our number one goal. this year, we hope to make storytelling the heart of september. we know that it’s powerful for students to tell their stories; we believe in the saying if you can’t say it you can’t write it.

but in our zest to get things going; we often push full steam ahead and go straight to getting kids to write. this year is going to be different. this year we are going to let them become storytellers.

what would happen if we we gave our kids lots of opportunity to storytell and coached kids on what makes a good storyteller? will storytelling make their stories stronger? we think so.


we can start by setting aside time in the day to model storytelling. the ordinary happens in our classrooms could be the stories we sell and tell. we tell the story of the bumble bee in the classroom and how we captured and released it. we tell and sell the story of when there was mystery glitter in everyone's locker and how we tried to solve the mystery. students will quickly learn that stories are all around us. we could also launch reading and writing partnerships through this unit. 

one possible idea is to take turn telling stories (a few times) and eventually the teacher could do shared writing and interactive writing(from the stories told).

Below is a list of possible fall mini-lessons:


    •teacher models storytelling (all the time)
    •read books about storytelling 
(interactive read aloud time)
    •read books that are similar to the books you will expect them to write soon

    •taking turns telling stories in a large group (pulling names from a jar)

    •storytelling stories with three fingers

    •what happened first, next and last
 (tap blank papers)
    •storytelling with a partner

    •storytelling with a small group 

    •telling stories about what we know 

    •telling stories about what we care about (which are often ordinary things)

    •have a chair called the storytelling stool and students can sit on it to tell a story

    •find opportunities to tell stories about things happening during the day

    •use oral stories shared for interactive writing or shared writing 

    •introducing a storytelling string

    •have students tell stories about a strong feeling

    •parts of a story (beginning, middle, end)

    •showing parts of your story instead of telling your story 

    •telling stories about things we are passionate about things/ people/ foods/ animals 
    watch a storyteller (inquiry)
    •name and notice what they are doing successfully
    create a storytelling anchor chart (storytellers begin with a bold beginning)

kids love to hear stories and they love to tell stories. 

if you have to wait five minutes before art… tell a story
when kids come in from recess… tell a story.  

and remember the more you model and the more examples they hear, then the children will begin to see storytelling not as a school task, but rather a part of getting to know one another. they will see their teacher and classmates as a community of friends with stories to share and celebrate. 

we hope you will join us this september and create a culture of storytelling and sharing which in turn will extend into their writing. 

may your days be filled with stories to share!
melissa & jessica & laura 


  1. Amen, sista(s). I'm a firm believer in "if you can’t say it you can’t write it" and teacher modeling is crucial. Great post!

  2. This is so true! I love the ideas you posted. I'll be sure to snag some. Thank you for sharing this, Gals!

  3. Thanks to both of you for your nice comments. We hope to do a few post on storytelling ideas this month!