Using Storyline for English Language Development (ELD)

 1. What is Storyline?                             

Here’s a good summary from the Storyline Resources website:

“In a Storyline classroom, a segment of each day is set aside for Storyline work. During this time, required curriculum is integrated into a meaningful context within a story. Key questions, designed to be big and broad to activate students’ prior knowledge and experience, are posed by the teacher. The key questions form the framework of the story. Guided by the key questions, the students and teacher construct a setting, become characters, and solve problems as incidents unfold within the story.

Over a period of time, students are given the opportunity to research and develop the story. Basic skills are reinforced and new skills and concepts are introduced in support of the developing Storyline. Each story takes a unique twist as students create their own model and construct their own meaning through action and experience. In this way, teachers and students join together in collaborative story-making to create the Storyline.

Storyline is engaging for all types of students. The power of story draws them in and keeps them actively involved throughout the Storyline.

The Scottish Storyline Method was developed in Scotland over forty years ago. This innovative approach has withstood the test of time and continues to expand to many countries around the world.”

-Colleen Vallerga

2. Why is Storyline good for ELD?

Storyline creates a rich, engaging context for authentic language learning and practice. It naturally includes the four domains of language: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Each Storyline is based on a story. Stories are something that everyone can relate to, since all cultures have a narrative genre. Students in the ELD classroom, who represent diverse cultures/languages, are united in their learning through stories, and each student is able to participate in the learning process.

Here’s a good quote about using Storyline for ELD by Sharon Ahlquist. She is a professor in Stockholm, Sweden who does research on Storyline and language learning.

“Children learn best through intrinsically motivating tasks in imaginative contexts, where input makes human sense to them and where they can apply their cognition, emotions and creativity. We believe that well chosen and appropriately used stories can meet these demands and can serve as a great means to develop young learners’ communicative language skills.”

-Sharon Ahlquist & Reka Lugossy in Stories and Storyline

3. How does Storyline meet Oregon’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards?

Most ELD Storylines last 6-8 weeks. Most, if not all, of the ten ELP standards are covered within this time. The ELP standards fit well into the structure of a story.

This is an example of an incident. There was a rainstorm during our Cactus Hotel ELD Storyline.

This is an example of an incident. There was a rainstorm during our Cactus Hotel ELD Storyline.

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