Thursday, September 6, 2018

Story Listening

Today, I ventured into Story Listening with my Latin 2 classes. Story Listening is a pre-reading strategy devised by Beniko Mason, and the title is exactly what it is: students listening to a story being told while the teacher draws pictures as part of the storytelling. No circling takes place, and it is done in the same way as a parent telling children a story, i.e., parents tend not to interrupt a story with questions. I had dabbled before with Story Listening, but I had not added the picture component.

Today, in my Latin 2 classes, I did a Story Listening of the following story - the story of Vulcan and Mars. Below is the story with the pictures which I drew as I narrated the story aloud in Latin.

Iuppiter et Iuno duōs filiōs habebant. Primus filius erat Mars. Mars erat deus bellī. Iuno amabat suum filium Martem, quod Mars erat fortis et pulcher.

Secundus filius erat Vulcanus. Vulcanus erat deus ignis. Iuno non amabat suum secundum filium. Quamquam Vulcanus erat fortis, Iuno non putavit Vulcanum esse pulchrum.

Eheu! Quod Vulcanus erat fortis sed non pulcher, Iuno erat irata. Iuno Vulcanum non amabat, et noluit Vulcanum habitare in Monte Olympō. Iuno Vulcanum ad terram deicit. Vulcanus non iam erat in Monte Olympō sed in terrā. Vulcanus erat vulneratus in terrā.

Vulcanus erat tristis, quod mater Vulcanum non amabat. Vulcanus erat tristis, quod Iuno non putavit Vulcanum esse pulchrum. Vulcanus erat tristis, quod erat vulneratus. Vulcanus noluit habitare in terrā. Vulcanus voluit habitare in Monte Olympō.


  1. Because this was my first real foray into Story Listening, I am glad that I had a very basic story with tons of repetitions and lots of vocabulary with which students were familiar. That made it much easier for me to tell.
  2. This is a very LOW-prep activity for you as the teacher. All that is required for you is the story and a place to draw pictures.
  3. I was surprised at how engaged students were when I told the story. Granted it was a rather comprehensible story to understand when heard aloud, but the fact that I was drawing pictures as I narrated it kept the story compelling.
  4. The pictures added another layer of comprehensible input. Essentially, students were receiving double input: hearing the Latin aloud and seeing the pictorial representation of the story as I drew it.
  5. I suppose one could draw the pictures ahead of time, but drawing the pictures while telling the story aloud forced me to go slow and to repeat a lot by referring to the pictures. I think that students appreciated this.
  6. Because students are just listening to a story and you as the teacher are not asking questions, it can be tricky to see if students are fully comprehending what you are saying. Halfway through the story listening, I did a comprehension check by asking students to tell me in English what was going on in the story. I could have circled or asked comprehension questions in Latin, but since this was the first experience which students had with this story, I wanted to confirm that they understood it.
  7. Because this is a pre-reading strategy (I suppose it could be used as a post-reading strategy), it is important that students are familiar with the vocabulary words in the story either as having already acquired them or as icing words written on the board.
  8. The whole story listening took about 10-15 minutes.
  9. This is definitely something which I going to do more often in the future!
To see how it works, see below for a Story Listening Demo by Beniko Mason

Also, check out this post on the Fluency Matters blog about Story Listening - New or Time-Tested. This is a very good write-up by Carol Gaab. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! Whenever I am in need for fresh, new ideas for my lessons; I always check out your blog.