Storytelling Techniques: Writing Engaging Stories

Storytelling Techniques

Storytelling techniques are essential tools that help bring narratives to life and captivate readers’ imaginations. By introducing students to these techniques, we can enhance their understanding and appreciation of storytelling. 

This blog post will show various activities and resources for 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade students to teach and reinforce storytelling techniques. From video lessons to animated shorts and hands-on activities, these strategies will engage students while promoting their creativity and critical thinking skills.

All activities are included in this one handout.

Storytelling Techniques Lesson Plan

Activity #1: Hook

Storytelling Techniques Lesson Plan

Show students a short video clip that exemplifies storytelling techniques to kickstart the lesson. One suggestion is the movie trailer for “Toy Story 2.” Discuss with students how the trailer incorporates cliffhangers, plot twists, flashbacks, flash-forwards, parallel timelines, and foreshadowing. 

Activity #2: Video Lesson with Organizer

This lesson video provides definitions and examples to help students understand six storytelling techniques. Be sure to get the organizer for students to complete while watching the film. It can be found in the handout.

Storytelling Techniques Lesson
Play Video about Storytelling Techniques Lesson

Activity #3: Teaching Storytelling Techniques with Animated Shorts

Teaching Storytelling Techniques with Animated Shorts

Introduce students to the power of storytelling techniques through animated short films. Show films such as “One Small Step,” “The Present,” “If Anything Happens I Love You,” “The Passenger,” “Alma,” “The House of Small Cubes,” and “Destiny.”

After each film, distribute the “Student Packet” containing questions for evaluating the storytelling techniques used in each movie. Please encourage students to discuss and justify their responses.

The handout includes several links for each film, ensuring accessibility even if the original videos become unavailable.

Activity #4: Paragraph Sequencing Picture Story

Engage students in a hands-on activity that requires them to write paragraphs. Provide students with four picture cards representing four scenes from a story. Using these cards as prompts, students create short stories for each sequence, demonstrating their understanding of different sequencing techniques. Encourage creativity and vivid descriptions to enhance the narrative. Look a the samples below.

Flashback Story Sequence

As Matt was riding his bike home from school, he was thinking about the weekend. He thought about going rock climbing. Then he remembered what had happened the last time he went climbing. Matt enjoyed the long strenuous climb up the side of the mountain. He was looking forward to reaching the top and just stretching out on his back to rest; however, when he looked over the topmost rock, he spotted a grizzly bear ~ a humongous grizzly bear. Instead of the nice rest, Matt had looked forward to, he scrambled back down the rock face and hightailed it home. Now, he was unsure if he wanted to go rock climbing again.

Foreshadowing Story Sequence

Matt was quite an outdoorsman. Every weekend he went on one adventure. Today he was riding his bike home from school and thinking about the rock climbing trip he planned for tomorrow. Matt would be shocked if he only knew what was in store for him on this trip.

Chronological Story Sequence

Matt had his Saturday all planned out. First, he rode his bike over to Grandfather Mountain. Once there, he went rock climbing for a couple of hours. Next, he visited the animal habitats to observe the cougars, white-tailed deer, black bears, bald eagles, and river otters in their natural settings. Matt had a terrific day at Grandfather Mountain.

Activity #5: Follow-Up Activity: Storyboard Creation

Storytelling Techniques Lesson Plan

For a creative and visual assessment of students’ understanding of storytelling techniques, assign them a prompt and have them create storyboards. Students can draw scenes, add dialogue, and label the techniques used in each panel.

Please encourage them to think critically about how each technique enhances the story’s impact and engages the reader. This activity showcases their comprehension of the methods and encourages their artistic skills and creative expression.


Writing prompts are included in the handout for this activity. Here’s a sample:

In a small town, a young girl named Lily discovers an old diary hidden in her grandmother’s attic. As she starts reading the journal, the story takes her back to a different era, where she uncovers a family secret that changes everything Lily thought she knew about her ancestors.

Teaching storytelling techniques to 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade students provides a valuable opportunity to develop their creativity and appreciation for narratives. These activities help students learn storytelling techniques through video lessons, animated shorts, paragraph sequencing, and storyboard creation. 

By promoting their understanding and awareness of storytelling techniques, we help students become skilled storytellers capable of captivating readers with imaginative narratives.

If you missed the link for the handout above, here it is again.


All activities are included in this one handout.

Gay Miller

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