Your Story Matters & So Does How You Tell It

Written by Alli Caplinger

Our annual theme is My Story Matters, through which each student, parent, or caregiver is empowered to understand their connection to Horizon Academy. Many times, we know what we want to say but struggle with how to say it. What do we need to include in our tale to make it cohesive? To make someone understand us?

Oftentimes, this is where our students, especially those with language-based learning differences, become “stuck,” or unsure how to generate or replicate a cohesive narrative. We must give our students direct, explicit instruction about its content. This “recipe” includes story grammar components, such as characters, setting, problem, action, solution, and our feelings along the way.

For example, as Mrs. Hodge’s class read “After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up,” students took turns identifying different story grammar components. One student found the problem, his fear of heights, and the consequence of losing his favorite paper bird. A second student knew the story’s action and solution were Humpty facing his fears by climbing a ladder. Another student identified how Humpty Dumpty felt throughout the story. Further application of these concepts were created when the class discussed their own personal fears and how they have faced them in the past.

Once students are able to identify the story grammar components, they can find themselves in stories they hear or read. Then they can retell a familiar story using these pieces, such as fables or many children’s books. Eventually, the students are able to apply this to their own lives. They can tell their own personal story and why it matters when given visual support, verbal prompts, and guided practice. This allows them to take ownership of their story and express why it matters.