Story asking is a teaching strategy that can be applied in the classroom with zero to low preparation. It involves the teacher asking a series of questions in the target language to help students collaboratively create a story.

To implement story asking, the teacher begins by introducing a theme or topic for the story, such as “Los animales” (Animals). This establishes a framework for the students’ storytelling. The teacher then proceeds to ask the students questions in the target language about the setting, characters, and plot of the story. These questions can vary depending on the students’ proficiency level and the desired language skills to be practiced. For example, the teacher might ask questions like “¿Qué animal es?” (What animal is it?), “¿De qué color es?” (What color is it?), or “¿Cuántos años tienes?” (How old is it?).

As the students provide their answers, the teacher can write them down on the board or a piece of paper to visualize the evolving story. This visual aid helps students see the progression and coherence of their collective narrative. The teacher can also ask follow-up questions to deepen the students’ ideas and encourage further development. For instance, if a student mentions a cat, the teacher might ask, “¿Cómo se llama el gato?” (What is the cat’s name?) or “¿Qué le gusta comer?” (What does it like to eat?).

Once the story has been co-created, the teacher can read it back to the class in Spanish, incorporating details provided by the students. Once the story is ready, the teacher can ask questions about the story to engage the students further and assess their comprehension. The results with elementary students are usually a few paragraphs.

Story asking not only promotes language acquisition but also fosters important skills such as collaboration and active listening. By working together to construct a story, students learn to value each other’s contributions, build on ideas in the target language.

Have fun creating stories with your students!