Language Experience Stories

By Activity Bank on Jul 08, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Charlotte Cushman and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

The ability to relate a story to another person is a way to connect and to share experiences. This activity works to improve memory and recall of recent events while increasing expressive language and developing sequencing skills. Lessons include English Language Arts, Concept Development and Social Skills.


Digital recorder


  • Choose a topic which is of interest to the student – a birthday party the day before, a field trip that morning, or choose a more general subject such as “My Family” or “My Favorite Food.”
  • Ask the student to talk as independently as possible about the selected topic on a digital recorder. Help the student to structure a story. Give the student cues as needed. Ask questions to encourage description, detail, mood and opinion.
  • At first, the teacher might need to tell most of the story with some fill-in-the-blank cues in each sentence. For example, “This is a story about my trip to the _________. Yesterday, I went to the _______. We drove in the _______. When we got there we saw lots of ______. My favorite thing was the ______.” At a later stage, the teacher can help the student to choose the topic and ask a few leading questions, but allow the student to tell the story alone.
  • After the story has been told, play back the tape. Ask the student questions about the story. Include the following types of questions:
    • Comprehension: “Where did you go yesterday?”
    • Main idea: “What is this story about?”
    • Sequencing of events: “What happened first?”
    • Drawing conclusions: “What should you remember to take with you next time you go?”
    • Opinion: “What was your favorite part of the trip?”
  • If appropriate, have the student retell the story into the digital recorder without help.birthday cake


  • Have the students work in small groups. They can take turns adding sentences to the story or asking questions at the end of the story.
  • Students may enjoy making tactile books using textured materials or printing their stories on a computer and illustrating them.

Hint: In a natural setting, encourage students to have informal conversations about recent experiences.

For more activities like this, see Paths to Literacy.