How to Teach 'Interpreting Simple Stories' in Form One

How to Teach 'Interpreting Simple Stories' in Form One

Welcome to UNIT 19.2 

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 19.1, we discussed about the various ways of teaching the sub topic "Intensive reading"  in Form One.                                            

IN THIS UNIT 19.2, we will cover the sub topic "Interpreting simple stories” in Form One.

Sub Topic: Interpreting simple stories
Periods per sub topic: 8
Class: Form One

Apart from being enjoyed, short stories are also read to be interpreted or analysed. They are analysed by following special procedures and techniques. The students will also learn how to read these simple stories and interpret them appropriately.

In this sub topic/lesson, the student should be able to explain the message from simple stories read.

This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:
  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher discusses and brainstorms with the students on defining the meaning of story and simple stories so that to make them aware of what they will read and interpret in this sub topic/lesson.
To make the introduction clearer, the teacher may begin by reading some simple stories or any interesting story and allow students respond to the questions asked by the teacher. The teacher should tell them simple and well-known stories of their age. After listening to the stories and responding to the questions, students will have the big picture of what the sub topic/lesson is all about.
  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will have to prepare sample Class Readers texts like Fast Money, The Magic Garden, Mabala The Farmer, Kalulu the Hare and Hawa the Bus Driver. These Class Readers Story Books are used in both Form I and II. The teacher's job is to select the relevant Class Readers to Form I that they will enjoy reading.
For Form I, it's good to start with Kalulu the Hare because it is the story book about animals (fables), the kinds of stories most children like. Then, in Form II, the teacher can take students to other story books about people and people's life in general.
  1. Target Practice. Show them/Guide them to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will guide students to practice how to explain the message from simple stories read. The teacher will do this by teaching students the appropriate kinds of expressions they should use when they are responding to the stories. Some of the common expressions are:
  • The author says......
  • The story is about.....
  • I like this character because...
  • I hate this character because...
  • The message of the story is...
  • The story teaches us to....
  • The story advises us to....
  • The story advises us not to....
  • As.......

  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will engage students in the contexts like school, home, and library to make them realise how these stories apply in our societies. These situations or contexts can be used by the teacher to help students interact with the topic meaningfully. For example, at school, students can go to the library and find the books. At home, they get books too, and all the messages they read on the texts can be found in their societies.
  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.
In this sub topic/lesson: The most commonly applied vocabularies are: vocabulary from simple reader(s) to the level of the class.
Here the teacher will guide students to study the vocabularies from the text or Class Readers Text they will have read. They should be able to understand the content of the texts and their grammatical structures and meanings.

Guide the students to the full sub topic/lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:
ACTIVITY ONE: Brainstorming. The teacher has to brainstorm with the students on the sub topic/lesson's aspects through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.
In this activity, the teacher has to guide students to brainstorm with on the simple stories. Some brainstorming guiding questions with answers are:
  • What is a story?
  • A story is a text that tells an event or events.
  • What is the meaning of Simple Story?
  • Is the short story that is easy to read and interpret?

What are examples of Simple Stories?
  • Kalulu the Hare
  • Hawa the Bus Driver

Why is it important to read simple stories for students?
  • Vocabulary building
  • Understanding grammar

These brainstorming questions will help students understand the real picture of what the sub topic/lesson will be about. The examples, for instance, will open students' mind on the interesting stories they can come across when they read the simple stories.
ACTIVITY TWO: Teacher's Demonstration. The teacher applies his/models or examples so as to bring the topic/lesson and the students into the real or common sense of the topic/lesson.
In this activity, the teacher guides students and demonstrate how to interpret simple stories in his/her model he/she will apply. The teacher can select the part of the story and read it aloud to the students. In this activity, the teacher can read the story "The Game of Catching Stones" that is a story from Kalulu the Hare. After reading it to the students, he/she can now ask them some Guiding questions about the story as follows:
Read the following story, and then answer the questions that follow:
Kalulu and Lion played together...
  1. Who hurt Kalulu?
  2. Did the stone hit Kalulu?
  3. Why didn't Lion see Kalulu jumping?
  4. What rolled down to the bottom of the hill?
  5. Write True or False
  6. Lion is a very clever animal.....
  7. Kalulu and his wife laughed a lot.....
  8. Kalulu did not intend to hurt Lion.....
  9. Kalulu and Lion were friends.....
  10. Lion knew that Kalulu would revenge.....

ACTIVITY THREE: Students' Demonstration. The teacher guides students how they can apply a model like that of a teacher. The skills demonstrated by the teacher should now be demonstrated/applied by them. Here students need to be guided on how to use given expressions, structures, vocabulary, and phrases or similar ones.
In this activity, the teacher has to guide students to use title and illustrations of the selected Class Reader, Kalulu the Hare, and predict what a book will be about. By looking at the title itself, students can be guided by the teacher to think about what the book will be about. The teacher should also tell the students that even illustrations, pictures and drawings from the cover of the text can help the reader to predict what is in the particular story.
Guide them to study the illustrations of Kalulu the Hare's cover, and if there are no copies of such Class Reader, the teacher can browse through the internet and print and photocopy the story cover he/she has found. This printed story cover can be supplied to students during the lesson, so to help students understand the meaning of the story.
Title: Kalulu the Hare
Story Details:
Writer: Frank Worthington
Setting: Africa, East Africa
Year of Publication: 1963
Publisher: Longman Group LTD
The teacher should guide students to read another part of the class reader 'Kalulu the Hare' or the whole class reader and answer the questions on characters and events.
The teacher can guide students to read the story "Mr. Hippo and Fire" from Kalulu the Hare and ask them to answer questions on characters and events.
The characters in this story are: Kalulu and the Hippo.
The event(s): Kalulu takes revenge on Hippo by setting fire on his bed. Then after being burned, the Hippo runs to the river to cool himself down. Since that day, Hippo has never come out of river.
Also the teacher has to organise group discussion on characters and message. The teacher may ask students to read other parts of the book or read the whole book in groups especially after realising that they understand the text very well.
After reading other parts of the story or the whole book, the teacher can guide them to discuss the characters and messages as well:
Characters in Kalulu the Hare are:
  • Kalulu
  • Lion
  • Hyena
  • Hippo

The messages from the story are:
We should be clever when we are solving various life problems.
Revenge is not good.
We should live in peace and harmony.
We should be aware of the cunning people.

ACTIVITY FOUR: Taking/leading students to the real situations or contexts where they can apply what they have mastered. Here speaking, reading or writing activities are involved.
In this activity, the teacher will guide students to write a brief book report. The teacher has to guide students how to write a simple book/story report for Form I students. For the Form I , a book report should contains the following parts:
  1. What is the title of the book?
  2. Who is the author of the book?
  3. What is the story about?
  4. Who is the main character?
  5. Who are other characters?
  6. Who is your favourite character?
  7. Who is not your favourite character?
  8. What is the message of the story?
  9. What is the lesson of the story?
  10. What do you advise others about the story?
You can also enjoy the following:

NB: These are the important aspects of book report suitable for Form I and II students. The teacher should encourage students to write the good book report for the better understanding of the stories.

ACTIVITY FIVE: Winding up the topic/lesson. Here teachers summarise the topic/lesson by emphasizing the importance of the sub topic/lesson and suggesting other related aspects of the sub topic/lesson.
Other Stories from "Kalulu the Hare":
King Lion
Kalulu and Hyena and the Pot of Fat
Hyena, the Goat, the Leopard and the Corn
Kalulu's Blanket
How Kalulu Became Chief of the Village
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITY: As a teacher, what other activity can be applied in this sub topic/lesson? You can always drop your alternative activity or activities to this article so as to improve teaching and learning of 'O' Level English.
Also see examples on Present Tense.
Also see examples from All Types of English Tenses  

Ask students to think about when they started hearing the stories and who were narrating these stories to them. They will obviously remember how their grandparents or parents told them various stories even before they had started the schools. The teacher now should encourage students that these stories belong to the societies and that each society has its own stories to tell. They should also be encouraged to read these stories.

A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the student is able to explain the message from simple stories read.

Assessment #01: Group work.
In another time, the teacher can give students another Class Reader to read. Then he/she can give them some guiding questions. The students should also write a book report. Finally, the teacher can wind up the story.

Assessment #02: Pair works
The students can be asked to be in pairs and read the part of any selected text. After reading and responding to the set questions, the pairs can compare their answers and present them to the class.

Assessment #03: Individual work.
Here the teacher can give students the test that will be done individually and under close supervision so as to check out individual understanding of the sub topic/lesson.

Note 01: You can give students more individual works, pair works, and group works to facilitate their interaction and understanding of the sub topic or lesson. As English language teacher you have to give students more works to do. Because language is meant to be largely spoken and written, the teacher should rely on written exercises and notes. Instead students have to learn English language by vigorously exercising individually, in pairs, and in groups.

Stories are part and parcel of literature. These stories are written in prose form. They also convey the message to the society. In other words, these stories perform the functional roles of any genre of literature to the society. These important aspects of the stories prove that reading stories is very important for anyone. These stories teach us important lessons in our life. They also build the literary foundation on which the students will be able tackle further literary works in higher classes.

Note 02: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.


Title: “Form One English Language Notes with Grammar, Exercises and Key Answers”
Edition: 1st (2022)
Format: PDF
Size: 2.16 MB
Pages: 242
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Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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