Oral stories

Oral Stories for Year 3

These Hamilton tales and fables have been written as oral stories and they form an essential part of any good Speaking and Listening strategy. They serve to increase children's mental bank of characters, settings, story idioms and narrative styles. There's lots of choice too! You get the whole tale plus a shortened bullet-point version for reminders as you tell the tale to children.

Oral stories provide fantastic experiences for children, quite different from the (equally fabulous) experience of being read a written text. As you tell the children the story you can make eye-contact, alter the pace to increase suspense, adapt the sound level of your voice for atmospheric effect and use elaborated descriptions to convey pictures to be imagined rather than seen.


Supporting documents for set
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Charlie and the New Baby

In this story with familiar settings, Charlie the dog loves his life with his owners, Anne and Tim. One day, his owners go out for a long time, but when they return, they have a new baby. Charlie becomes despondent when his owners no longer seem to have time for him. The baby seems a real nuisance and Charlie feels unloved. The story ends with, ‘So one day, Charlie made a plan…’ Children could work together to devise Charlie’s plan.  The suggested activities have tasks related to when the children themselves were babies.

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Gelert, Prince Llewelyn's Faithful Hound

This Welsh legend is based on Prince Llewelyn, who ruled North Wales in the 11th century. Llewelyn is given a hound named Gelert, in order to protect his infant son. Returning from a hunting expedition, Llewelyn enters his son’s room to find a bloody mess around the baby’s cot. He assumes Gelert has killed his son and kills Gelert. But his son is alive and safe in the cot and seeing the corpse of a wolf, he realises his terrible mistake. Children can sketch a map of Wales and find the places mentioned or research Llewelyn.

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How the Moon Became

This tale from another culture tells the story of how the moon first appeared. Tiger-lin meets Eric, a quiet man with a tiger, and they become close. Eric presents Tiger-lin with mushroom spores which he tells her to plant. As a wedding gift, Eric throws one of the mushrooms into the sky, and it turns into a giant glowing sphere. A good springboard into a unit on the moon or life-cycle of mushrooms. The Moon Princess (below) is a retelling of this tale. 

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In this chilling adventure story, a man is chased by soldiers. The animals and forest react to the man’s peril. He finds a trap-door and hides inside. As the soldiers arrive, a deer covers the trap-door with leaves to hide it from sight. The soldiers continue on their way. The ending is thought-provoking: seen from the deer’s point of view. Children could write about why they think the man is running or learn more about forest wildlife.

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This is the popular Greek myth about the boy who wouldn’t listen to his father and flew too close to the sun. Daedalus is a clever inventor and rises to King Minos’s challenge of creating a huge labyrinth for the Minotaur. When Daedalus and Icarus are thrown into the labyrinth, they easily escape. They try to fly to freedom, but Icarus does not make it. This story makes a good link into history of flight and provides a discussion point about listening to adults!

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Jabu and the Lion

This is a traditional tale from another culture. Jabu takes care of his father’s cattle. One day he hears a lion’s roar and finds Bhubusi, the lion, ensnared in a hunter’s trap. The lion begs Jabu to help him. Bhubusi promises he will not turn on Jabu if Jabu sets him free. Jabu agrees but immediately the lion decides to eat him. A jackal and Jabu trick Bhubusi back into the trap. This provides a good introduction to a PSHE lesson about trust.

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Knitted Doll

This story with familiar settings features an old lady who is well-known for making knitted penguins. She agrees to make a doll for less than she normally charges for a little girl whose mother has died and has to live with her Nan. She tells the girl to come back in a week, and then starts knitting. The suggested activities include creating a rag doll. This could be a good springboard into a unit on fabrics and traditional toys.

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Rag Doll

This mysterious adventure is about a girl who has a worn out rag doll. The girl and her mum are always moving house. Children bully her, until one day her rag doll’s eyes turn red and luminous and scare the bullies away. From then on, the raggedy doll helps ward off anyone who is horrible towards her. The girl is moving again, but she is not worried as she has her doll to take care of her. What do the children rely on to keep them feeling safe? 

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The Children of Lir

This is a traditional Irish folk-tale. Stepmother Aoife becomes jealous of the close relationship between her husband Lir and his four children. She takes the children to swim at the lake and casts a spell on them that turns them into swans. Lir comes down to look for his children and the swans, who are still able to speak, tell their father what happened. After 900 years they turn back into humans, but are so old and frail their lives swiftly end. Children could research the life-cycle of swans and different species.

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The Journey

This quest story is similar to the journey of the Three Kings from the Nativity story. The traveller knows only that he is to take his gift and follow the bright dawn star. En route, he meets two other travellers with similar boxes, who also are following the star. Together, they are led to a stable door. Children could write their own up-to-date version of the story. You can use the story as a springboard into a unit on travelling or famous historic long journeys.

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The Moon Princess

This tale from another culture is a retelling of How the Moon Became (above). In this version, when Princess Tiger-lin’s father tells her she must cease her wild ways and choose a husband, she looks at the moon and says, ‘By the time the moon is full, I shall have found an acceptable suitor.’ Tiger-lin talks about how the moon’s shape changes. This would be a good introduction to the moon’s phases and the night sky.