Here is a brief look at my literacy approach:

What is Hands-On Literacy?

Hands on literacy is based on brain-based research.  It brings classic stories alive and into the hands of the learner through the senses – visual, tactical, auditory – and through the multiple intelligences – verbal/linguistic, musical/rhythmic, visual/spatial, bodily kinesthetic, intra-personal, interpersonal, mathematical/logical and naturalist.

Foundation of this approach:

Repetition, repetition, repetition!  Repetition of a story builds the strength and love of a story.  To tell a story once is to dilute it.  Repetition gives a learner time to reflect and immerse themselves in the story.  The repetition of the story give access to making stories of their own from the central story concepts.

The Magic Method:

  1. Choose a story.
  • There are three main story types for this approach:
    • Classic stories – fairy tales, popular books
    • Nature stories – stories that reflect the seasons and nature around us
    • Character stories
    • Nature and character stories can have the element of being ongoing over the entire school year.
  •   The story should have at least one of the following elements: repetitious language, repetitious plot or predictable plot.  (Examples: The Three Bears, The Three Billy Goats, Little Red Hen)

2.  Select three different tools to bring the story to life:

  • Flannel Board (can be clip art that is laminated)
  • Lap Puppets (can be simple plastic figures, ornaments and doll house dolls)
  • Finger Puppets
  • Marionettes
  • Scarves and Music
  • Dramatic Re-enactment


Suggested Sequence:

  • Tell the story orally.  Classic simple fairy tales are easy to remember.
  • Tell the story using flannel board pieces.
  • Tell the story using 3-dimensional figures.  Do this for 2-3 days.
  • Read the story from various book versions.
  • Make a storytelling pathway to help children retell the story.
  • Have the children act out the story.

Three-Dimensional Storytelling Tips:

I tell the story sitting down in Story Time.  I drape a cloth over my lap to create a little stage with some of the fabric lying in front of me.  I set up the characters and use small pieces of fabrics, wood, and other found items to create the sequence of the scenes.  (I also use a small table.)  Example:  for The Three Billy Goats – I use a large blue fabric for the river, a brown piece of cloth for where there is no grass, a piece of green fabric for the tasty green grass and a large block for the bridge.  This is not only cheap but gives the children the feeling they have entered the story world.

Present the story at least 2 to 3 times in this form before moving to the next form.  At times, I have presented a table puppet show for a week!

Exciting News!!

I am excited to tell you that I am planning to make available (for purchase) a comprehensive documentation of each Fairy Tale Unit I present this school year.  I will do it one by one.  And I will be taping all the storytelling components so you can see it. And it will include video clips of how to prepare critical elements of the unit!  My intention is to give you everything you need to implement this approach!  Stay tuned – the first one, Goldilocks and the Three Bears will be ready in mid-September!!