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  • Writer's pictureElena

How to make storytelling inclusive

As teachers, we know that stories allow for the introduction and revision of language. In addition to expanding children's vocabulary, stories also help in developing various skills including listening and early literacy skills.

While planning activities, it is common to consider the before, during, and after stages. However, to make storytelling inclusive, it's also useful to think about the stages we go through when learning new things.

Bloom's Taxonomy shows how learners need to master low-order thinking skills (remember, understand, and apply) before advancing to higher-order skills (analyse, evaluate, and create). Although it might be challenging to follow the stages in order, we can use the taxonomy to ensure that all the learners can participate and develop a variety of skills.

Low-order thinking skills


  • Name parts of the body. Have the children point to and name different body parts as they appear in the story.

  • Match characters and names. Create a matching game where children match pictures of characters to their names from the story.

  • Find. Hide flashcards related to the story around the classroom. Children then go on a "treasure hunt" to find and collect these items.

  • List the (places) that the characters visited, the (fruits) that they bought. Create a chart with pictures of places and fruits from the story. Children can place stickers or draw checkmarks next to each item as they recall them.

Who...? What...? How many...? Where...? When...?


  • Translate. Encourage children to translate simple phrases or words from one language to another.

  • Explain. Discuss a situation from the story and ask children to explain why certain characters feel a particular way. This encourages them to express their understanding of emotions.

  • Sort. Provide pictures of different animals from the story and have children sort them into categories based on where they live, for example, farm, jungle, ocean.



  • Show. Have children act out scenes from the story using puppets.

  • Classify. Provide a variety of flashcards and ask children to classify them based on criteria from the story. You could ask them, for example, to classify fruits or animals mentioned in the story. 

  • Illustrate. Ask children to choose and draw a favourite scene from the story.  

What can you use this for? What would you do?

Higher-order thinking skills


  • Identify. Have children identify emotions in the story. Discuss the emotions from and encourage children to draw an emotions map.

  • Categorise. Provide a variety of flashcards from the story and ask children to categorise them into groups based on a specific criterion.

  • Discover. Extend the story by engaging children in a hands-on project related to the topic.

What other examples can you think of?


  • Rate. Present different characters or elements from the story and ask children to rate them based on their preferences or opinions.

  • Choose. Present children with different options or endings for the story and have them discuss and choose which they think is the best.

Which ... is best? Why?


  • Create. Encourage children to come up with an alternative ending for the story. Provide them with art supplies and ask them to draw their version of how they think the story could end differently.

  • Invent. Prompt children to invent a new character or object that could fit into the world of the story.

  • Imagine. Invite children to imagine a completely different setting for the story. It could be a new place where the characters embark on their adventure or encounter different challenges. Encourage them to draw or describe this imaginative setting, considering factors like the landscape and weather.

How many ways can you...?

The taxonomy is a useful tool to ensure that students of all cognitive and language levels are engaged, while promoting the use of a variety of skills.

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This is very interesting but I feel a bit more clarification on how it could be used is needed. You say "The taxonomy is a useful tool to ensure that students of all cognitive and language levels are engaged, while promoting the use of a variety of skills." - could you clarify further how to apply the tool to real-life classroom practice? How do you expect this to work in a "mixed-ability" classroom? Would you have some learners working on lower-order tasks and others on higher-order?

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