Oral language & vocabulary development with ‘Three Words’ activities

Storytelling is a great way to build oral language skills and ‘Three Word Cards’ will develop sequential development of plot and encourage listening skills.

 These are cards that have three words (and three corresponding pictures for non-readers) printed on them. The aim is for the pupils to use their imaginations and incorporate the three words into a story having a suitable beginning, middle and end.

Three Word Cards (Box 1 Language for Living)

The activities below can be used with Three Word Cards. They can be used in pairs, groups or as a whole class activity.

Three Word Cards activities:

• Each group is given a Three Word Card. Working together as a team they create a story.

• Once the pupils understand and are able to make the stories, focus on sentence structure and the sequence of events. With the guidance of the teacher build on characters chaptering their physical appearance and characteristics, give details on setting and plot.

• Express reactions to events and characters in the stories made. Discuss the story being read and predict future events and likely outcomes in it.

• The group can dramatise/ tell their story to the rest of the class or stories can be recorded/ published for display including illustrations. Sounds can be added for effects.

• You can vary this activity by dividing the class into a few groups and give each group the same Three Word Card on the board. It can be interesting to compare the different directions each group story can take. Discuss the different characters, settings, plot, problems, etc.

• Encourage the use of new vocabulary such as ‘Words of the Day’, ‘Overused vocabulary’ and ‘Feelings vocabulary’.

• Sound stories: These are stories that are told using sound effects either in part or in full. You can create sound stories with popular fairy tales for example, ‘The Three Little Pigs’. The pupils squeak for the pig’s voices, use a drum beat for the wolf’s footsteps etc.

This idea of creating sound stories can be used with the stories the pupils create with the story starter as a further activity.

There are 100 ‘Three Word Cards’ in Language for Living Vocabulary at the Tip of Your Tongue (boxes 2 & 3). There are 50 cards in the junior box 1, which are picture based as well as word based for the readers and non-readers, EAL students etc.

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