This lesson plan for teachers of teenage and adult students at intermediate level and above is based on the theme of telling stories. Students will develop fluency and work towards developing accuracy.


Narrative, telling stories and anecdotes forms an important part of our everyday communication. This lesson is aimed at developing the ability to tell stories or anecdotes.

The lesson is based on an idea from 'Once Upon a time' by John Morgan & Mario Rinvolucri. It starts with fluency practice and works towards developing accuracy. The lesson also includes a grammatical focus session that aims to develop understanding of the meaning and form of narrative tenses.




Intermediate and above


60-90 mins


  • To develop the ability to tell a story fluently.
  • To develop the ability to understand and accurately use a range of narrative tenses.


Lesson plan: guide for teacher on procedure including answers to tasks.

Download lesson plan 79k pdf

Worksheets: exercises which can be printed out for use in class. 

Download worksheets 56k pdf

For more storytelling ideas see 'Once upon a time' by John Morgan & Mario Rinvolucri: Cambridge University Press (1984).


The plans and worksheets are downloadable and in pdf format. If you have difficulty downloading the materials see the download section of the Help page.

Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for you to download and copy for educational use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place these materials on any other web site without written permission from the BBC and British Council. If you have any questions about the use of these materials please email us at:

Language Level


Submitted by Mandoumbé on Sun, 05/02/2021 - 01:08

Telling stories or anecdotes can be funny a funny way of teaching language skills in an English as foreign language context 

In this type of activity students have something to say and they will use their background knowledge.

It can be guided by choosing a topic and brainstorm in to provide with the students the necessary vocabulary items they need to tell the story 

Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

See our publications, research and insight