Telling stories is a powerful tool to teach Spanish. From picture books to entire methodologies like TPRS, telling stories in Spanish exposes children to language in context. Teachers and parents can create and tell their own stories to teach children Spanish.

Telling stories in Spanish is one of the easiest ways to create comprehensible input – a context that makes meaning clear so children can learn naturally. You can tell stories using simple props and completely captivate children. I tell stories all the time with small stuffed animals, paper figures, or just my hands.

Telling Stories in Spanish to Language Learners

Telling stories in Spanish you can

  • make them as simple or as complicated as you like
  • use language the kids know as a base (easiest way to re-enter vocabulary)
  • introduce and clarify new language with figures, gestures, expressions, actions
  • pace the story to hold kids’ interest
  • adapt the story as you go by repeating and emphasizing what they like
  • include patterns
  • include key words and phrases for children to repeat with you
  • have children recreate parts of the story with figures
  • use the same characters over and over

Telling an Easy Story – An Example

I tell many simple stories and kids love them. They listen and understand because I act them out with toys or paper figures. They also chime in and later use the words and phrases from the stories as they play.

As an example, here is a printable of ¿Dónde está el gato?, an easy story I tell preschoolers.

Tips for Telling Stories in Spanish

Creating a Story

  • Consider your focus vocabulary and choose a setting where the vocabulary will occur naturally
  • Choose 2 main characters
  • Choose a simple problem or conflict that will let you repeat the focus vocabulary
  • Include a pattern by introducing 2 or 3 additional characters, or repeating an action
  • Create a resolution for the problem to end the story.

Telling Stories in Spanish

  • Use a prop for the characters. By far my favorite characters are small bean-bag type animals. They are durable, easy to put in different positions (curl up to sleep, or stand up on two legs to dance, for example), and kids love them.
    • These animals are also great because kids can hold them and toss them. They are one of my favorite teaching supplies, and I use them for tons of activities. I use the animals my kids had when they were little (they had lots!). For example, I have this cat, this dog, and this bird. These links are to Amazon, but any small animals will work and you can get them anywhere.
  • Paper figures also work well as characters. They are great for kids to color and use as puppets if they glue them to a craft stick.
  • If setting or change of setting is important (day, night, rain), prop up a picture (sun, moon, cloud with rain).
  • Use your voice, gestures to help to make the meaning of the story clear.

This is a video of my son-in-law Jorge telling a story with paper figures. You will find the text and printable figures to tell this story here.

  • Your hands can also be characters. Watch the video below to see an example of a mini-story. The video is about attention-getters, but you can jump ahead to about 1:35 to see a mini-cuento de un pez y un tiburón.

Spanish Candy Hearts Printable Activity
Spanish Valentine Games and Crafts