Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Storytelling in the Social Studies Classroom

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Thirteen 45- to 90-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Jacqueline Hansen

Murray, Kentucky


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza (Children's Book Press, 1990)

  • Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha Brenner (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1994)

  • One decorated shoebox or gift bag

  • Five or more personal mementoes

  • Art supplies

  • Computer with speakers and Internet access

  • Overhead projector and transparencies

  • Chart paper and markers

  • Local storyteller (optional)

back to top



Cube Creator

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Cube Creator

The interactive Cube Creator helps students identify and summarize key elements. It can be used as a prewriting or postreading activity.


Doodle Splash

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Doodle Splash

Doodle Splash combines the process of drawing with analytical thinking by pairing online drawing with writing prompts that encourage students to make connections between their visual designs and the text.


Bio Cube

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Bio Cube

Bio Cube is a useful summarizing tool that helps students identify and list key elements about a person for a biography or autobiography.


back to top



back to top



back to top



1. Find a local storyteller to present to your class (see Session 2). Storyteller.net is a resource you can use to locate one. If it is not possible for you to have a live storyteller, use one or more of the storytelling audio clips from this website.

2. Prepare a decorated shoebox containing five or more mementoes to share with students (see Session 3, Step 1). You should be prepared to tell a personal story of your choice about two or more of these mementoes (depending upon time constraints and student interest).

3. Obtain and become familiar with copies of Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza and Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha Brenner. If possible, practice reading the first book in both English and Spanish. You may choose to replace the Brenner book with a book about a different famous American who is part of your current social studies unit.

4. Assemble resources (books and websites) about famous Americans for student research. This lesson has students creating a list of research subjects from the ALA: Great Web Sites for Kids: Biographies, The Presidents of the United States, and the First Ladies' Gallery websites (see Session 9, Step 5). You may choose to create your own list of subjects related to your current social studies unit.

5. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve at least four one-hour sessions in your school's computer lab (see Sessions 9 to 12).

6. Visit and familiarize yourself with the Doodle Splash and Bio-Cube online tools.

7. Make two transparencies of the Memorable Moments handout. You should also make three copies for each student in your class.

8. Develop a set of examples of how students can display democratic dispositions in the classroom (see Session 6, Step 1). Examples might include: taking turns on the playground, showing respect to others, tidying up the classroom before leaving, holding the door for others, participating in group activities, and helping others.

back to top