Interactive Stories Training Course – Lesson 1

What is the Interactive Stories method?

Mark White
Mark White – creator of Interactive Stories

Interactive Stories is a language learning method developed by Mark White, an English language teacher with more than 20 years experience. It was designed to help learners speak English confidently and easily, while learning grammar naturally.

The method consists of telling a story. The story has both sentences and questions. The listener uses his or her imagination and responds to the questions. The listener can interact with the storyteller and help to create the story together.

Why was the Interactive Stories method created?

Originally, Mark developed the Interactive Stories method to get his Japanese students to speak confidently and easily in class. It worked very well! So, Mark began to write more Interactive Stories at different levels. Some of them were for pre-intermediate learners, some for intermediate learners, while others were more advanced. The response from learners was very positive, and Mark saw results right away.

How does the Interactive Stories method work?

A typical Interactive Story consists of 12 or 16 or 18 or 20 episodes. The episodes are like chapters in a novel: each tells a new part of the story. The story grows and becomes more interesting as you continue.

Also, each episode focuses on a particular grammar point. The episodes are graded, so they get more challenging as you go, building on previous episodes. When you do an Interactive Story, you are speaking sentences, and asking and answering questions using the same grammar pattern. You get LOTS of repetition, so you learn grammar by experience, not by studying. You learn grammar naturally this way, just like a child. You don’t have to think about grammar, if you don’t want to.

Interactive Stories stimulate your imagination, too. When the storyteller asks you questions, you can add your own details to the story, so it becomes different each time you tell the story. And by asking and answering questions on different topics, they help you and your partner have interesting conversations in English.

What can I learn from using Interactive Stories?

If you use the Interactive Stories method, you will:

  • Speak English more easily and confidently;
  • Become better at listening and conversation;
  • Learn grammar naturally, without thinking much about it;
  • Pick up new vocabulary words and phrases;
  • Become more familiar with accents of different English speakers

Task #1: Listen and Imagine

Instead of explaining what an Interactive Story is, it is probably better to hear an example. When you listen, close your eyes. This is very important. When you close your eyes you can concentrate better. There are fewer distractions.

Close your eyes and try to imagine what you hear. Can you do it? Can you see what the people look like? Can you see what the room they are in looks like? How about the car? What does it look like?

Are there any words or phrases you don’t understand? If so, try to guess their meaning with your imagination.

Click the play button below (or download the mp3 file) to hear a short sample from Episode 7 of an intermediate-level Interactive story called, The Water Car. The sample is only part of the full Episode. Just listen carefully and imagine. That’s all.

[audio:watercar7clip.mp3]
Download audio file (watercar7clip.mp3)
Note: right click the link and choose “save as” to download the audio file.

You can also download the pdf for this lesson, which contains exactly the same text as written above. There is no transcript in the pdf, nor are there any other exercises. All you need to do in this lesson is close your eyes, listen to the audio recording repeatedly, and imagine what you are hearing.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.

Tomorrow you will get Lesson 2 in your email box.