The “Story Box Center” is one of my students’ favorite, and mine as well! Besides being simply fun, tons of learning occurs there. I will briefly mention just a few and then show you how I built the story boxes I use in my classroom.
Oral Language Development: Working together or alone to retell a story allows children to build the most important component of literacy development: oral language skills. It is though talking and listening that children build important vocabulary and sentence structure skills. Story boxes award children a safe and comfortable environment in which they can practice the vocabulary and story structure of familiar tales that have been read to them.
Tactile Exploration: The story boxes allow students to use additional senses as they are able to touch the elements of a story. This purposeful exploration builds visual acuity, thinking skills, and builds understanding of how the elements of a story relate.
Comprehension: As students are able to manipulate the characters in a story, the meaning of that story is deepened; story elements come to life. The characters are now in their hands as they recreate the story.
How to Make a Story Box
First select a story. A great place to begin is with traditional tales such as the three bears. Next, find the characters. I have gathered characters from McDonalds, purchased Beanie Babies, used wooden puzzle pieces, found items at dollar and discount stores, made my own by using clip art on heavy tag and laminating, commercially purchased from teacher stores such as Lakeshore, or found items on places such as Amazon Etsy, or Ebay. I have made items from socks, dowels, and wool yarn.
Gather a container. I have tried everything from ziplock bags to shoe boxes before settling on sterilite containers that stack easily.
Next, I label the container with a picture of the book, or clip art that matches the story and begin gathering objects. Following are some of my story box contents.
As you can see I have a variety of "what I can find" story telling props. For most I try to add contents that will allow students to play with aspects of the setting, such as the bridge, houses, etc.