Story Writing: A Sound Story

A picture is not the only source that can inspire a thousand words. Sounds may tell a story just as well, leaving much more room to the imagination.

The activity I’ll describe today is built around sounds and guides students to the actual writing of the story based on the sounds they hear.

Step 1. Generating a story idea

Tell your students that they will hear different sounds. Ask them to note, in sequential order, the sounds they hear.

Pair up or split students into teams and get them to compare their notes.

Answers:

  1. Alarm clock
  2. Having a shower
  3. Frying food
  4. Eating
  5. Slurping
  6. Cat meowing
  7. News intro
  8. Phone vibrating
  9. Car door close
  10. Shopping center
  11. Loud bang
  12. Car cornering fast
  13. Police car siren
  14. Car brake crash
  15. Car drive by
  16. Rain
  17. Squeaking door
  18. Footsteps on cement
  19. Jack in the box
  20. Toddler laugh
  21. Screaming
  22. Alarm clock

You can find more free sound effects on http://soundbible.com/ and make your own audio compilation of sounds.

Step 2. Writing the basic story

Get the students to think of what they want to include in their story and decide on the order of events in the story – WHAT HAPPENED? – and how the story ends – THE END.

story line

Have students write the basic story using linking words to order the events in their story;

Step 3. Adding detail

Get students to

  • Brainstorm in their teams who the main character/characters are:

What’s his/her name? Where’s he/she from? How old is he/she? What does he/she look like? etc.

  • Set stories in a place and time that will be interesting or familiar and provide relevant details;
  • Think of background information on the major events.

Have students add detail to the basic story they wrote.

Step 4. Final touch

Have students look through their stories again and

  • Think how the main character reacts to the events in their story and use verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that best describe their feelings and actions;
  • Use direct speech to vary the pace;
  • Edit their stories.

Step 5. 

Ask each team to choose a representative who will act as a ‘guest’ on the talk show (the main character of the story) and answer questions from the audience. Before each act, the corresponding team will make a brief introduction and tell the story of the guest. After the introduction, the audience may ask the guest any questions they have.

(Image credit: Justin Lynham; Flickr.com, Creative Commons)

13 Comments

  1. […] The course aim was to prepare the students for going to New Zealand for 6 weeks as language exchange students. I was told (and expected) that their level was going to be very low: false beginners, but just barely. Some true beginners in the mix for sure. When I walked into the class, I said a very casual, "How's it going? " Nothing. A look of relief on their faces as they replied, "Fine. OK. SOUNDS LIKE A STORY | ELT-CATION. […]

  2. […] The course aim was to prepare the students for going to New Zealand for 6 weeks as language exchange students. I was told (and expected) that their level was going to be very low: false beginners, but just barely. Some true beginners in the mix for sure. When I walked into the class, I said a very casual, "How's it going? " Nothing. A look of relief on their faces as they replied, "Fine. OK. SOUNDS LIKE A STORY | ELT-CATION. […]

  3. […] SOUNDS LIKE A STORY | ELT-CATION. A picture is not the only source that can inspire a thousand words. Sounds may tell a story just as well, leaving much more room to the imagination. The activity I’ll describe today is built around sounds and guides students to the actual writing of the story based on the sounds they hear. Step 1. […]

  4. […] SOUNDS LIKE A STORY | ELT-CATION. A picture is not the only source that can inspire a thousand words. Sounds may tell a story just as well, leaving much more room to the imagination. The activity I’ll describe today is built around sounds and guides students to the actual writing of the story based on the sounds they hear. Step 1. […]

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