Building Mental Imagery with Story Re-Telling


Teacher: Zibeda Khadr

Students: Grade 2, ages 7-8

Audio Content: Matilda by Roald Dahl

Location: Carnell Elementary, Philadelphia Public Schools

Zibeda Khadr’s 2nd grade class includes a mix of children who enjoy books and children who struggle with reading. When asked how she thought her students would react to listening to Roald Dahl’s Matilda as an audio book, Ms. Khadr said, “The students will be quiet while listening, but some students may get frustrated or distracted and begin to distract others from listening to the book.”

Use of Technology
Khadr downloaded the audio book Matilda onto iPod Shuffles for her students. The students loved getting to use new technology, but there were some obstacles. Not all of the students knew how to use the Shuffles and needed assistance in finding the right place to begin in the audio book. One student came into the class on the second day of the activity, raving that she had gotten to teach her mother about iPods since she had never heard of them. “I told her all about it,” she said, “and it was cool because I’ve never taught a 32-year-old before!”

Classroom Observation. Students were given their own iPod Shuffle, each with a downloaded copy of Matilda. Sitting at their desks in silence and with the ear phones plugged in, students listened to the book in 20-minute segments and wrote a summary of what they had heard. Khadr encouraged each of them to “be like the author.” Apple’s ear bud headphones on the iPods proved to be too large for some of the smaller students’ ears, but the affected children learned to hold them to their ears in order to listen. On the first day of the activity, much time had been lost as Khadr worked to synchronize the iPod Shuffles. Many of the students seemed more excited about the new technology and fidgeting with it than listening to the story. Following the activity, Khadr had them write out sentences indicating whether or not that felt that they could summarize what they heard, and whether or not they were distracted. On the second day, with the synchronizing process going quicker with practice, the students had more time to listen. They were less distracted by the technology and quickly fell silent and stared off into space as they listened intently to the story. Khadr, encouraging them to play the role of the author and illustrator, had the students draw select scenes of the story as they had imagined them along with a written summary of that particular event. Many students drew and wrote with a high level of detail, including specific facts they had retained from the story, such as how many miles the bingo place was from Matilda’s home.

Summary/Results. Overall, the use of audio books proved to be beneficial for Khadr’s students. “I believe the lesson was effective,” she says, but she also acknowledges the technical difficulties. “There were problems with using the iPods and getting all the students to start at the same part of the story.” Khadr says that many children tended to press buttons on the iPods out of curiosity, leading some students to lose their place in the book and stopping listening altogether. Notably, Khadr mentioned a student who was typically “disinterested in writing, even though she loves to read,” but reported that this particular student wrote with “great detail following the listening activity.” Despite the technical difficulties, Khadr marveled at the students’ enthusiasm over the lessons. She reported: “The students were extremely excited and told their classmates all about the activity, something that hasn’t happened with other lessons.”

Teacher’s Quote. “It was a good experience to not have to rely on pictures and to use their imagination.”

One Response to “Building Mental Imagery with Story Re-Telling”

  1. Melina Says:

    very interesting. i’m adding in RSS Reader

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: