Reading, Writing and Storytelling

Through creative experiential activities students:

  • learn how to create, structure, write and tell a story
  • improve their ability to read
  • develop verbal presentation skills
  • utilize art and bookmaking in the learning process
  • experience what it means to work collaboratively as a team
  • develop life skills to deal with difficult situations and conflict

Teachers are taught:

  • the skills to create, structure, write and tell a story
  • integrate storytelling into their curriculum
  • methods to develop their students and their own reading and writing skills

Andre works closely with you to design educational programs to meet your students, staff and educational needs.

Reflections on Andre Heuer's Work

Andre Heuer is very flexible in meeting the needs of individual classes and schools. His wide range of experience lets him walk into any situation, assess his audience, and find the right techniques to reach his students. Allison Chapman
Youth & Community Programs Coordinator
Minnesota Center for the Book Arts

Andre Heuer's exemplary teaching not only provided support for our school-wide goal to improve student writing, but was consistent with our mission to be a model for collaboration by students and staff. Andre's wise and perceptive guidance allowed both staff and students to discover that they each had many important stories waiting to be told. Teachers often distracted by the challenges of the day, found that the after-school workshop did not merely hold their attention, but was energizing and empowering as well.
Barbara M. Mauk
Library Media Specialist
Roseville, Minnesota

Participants in Andre's workshop will experience in a concrete way what is meant by community and how they are an integral part of it. Conflict and dissent are seen in the shared context of appreciation and hope. As an educator, I see his work as a dynamic and vital way to promote a sense of belonging among the diverse citizens that make up a school's population.
Jennifer Monroe
Reading and Language Arts Teacher
Chicago, Illinois

The Structure of Story (50-65 minutes)

Purpose: This lesson demonstrates how stories have beginning, middle and ends, have a plot line and characters. The students are challenged to work together as a team in order to accomplish the task. The activity enhances verbal, written and presentation skills. This session is designed for students from 3rd grade up.
Teacher's Lesson:
The teacher stands in front of the class with a strand of yarn that has three sheets of paper attached.

  1. The sheets are inscribed with the words beginning, middle and end. The teacher unfolds the paper and describes how each story has a beginning, middle and an end.
  2. The teacher uses the yarn to demonstrate how each story has a common thread throughout the story and that in a story the storyline usually provides tension and that there is a need for some type of resolve (plot).
  3. The teacher tells a short simple story and asks the students to identify the main characters, the place, a few sensory details, the beginning middle and end, and what was the plot line.
  4. The students are invited throughout the presentation to share.
  5. The teacher begins the student activity one step at a time.

Student's Storytelling Activity

  1. Cut out pictures from magazines, catalogues and newspapers and glue the pictures onto 6"x 7" cards. Select pictures that will stir your student's imagination. The pictures need to have one or more person, animal, insect or other animated object i.e. spaceship, racing car or swing set. The picture should suggest some type of action.
  2. Place several cards on a table along with a small ball of yarn, a scissor, markers and sheets of paper with holes for each student.

Throughout the activity the students are encouraged to take responsibility for completing each task. The process of students negotiating and collaborating through the activity is as important as the finished product. It is important to be supportive of those students who may struggle. The students are encouraged to help each other.


  1. Five to six students are seated at each table with the supplies.
  2. Have your student group select one card. Give them time to negotiate.
  3. They are instructed that each student is to take a turn telling part of the story from the card they have selected. Remind the students that the first student to tell is the beginning of the story and that the last student is to tell the end of the story.
  4. The first student to tell is instructed to holds onto the end of the ball of yarn. As the first student finishes telling their part of the story they hold onto the end of the yarn and pass the ball of yarn to the next student unraveling the yarn. The telling of story and the unraveling of yarn continues until everyone has taken their turn and everyone is holding onto their part of the yarn.
  5. When finished the students are instructed to cut the end of the yarn, draw a picture on the paper of their part of the story and write a caption on the bottom of their picture for the part of the story they told.
  6. The pictures are arranged in sequence and the yarn is weaved through the holes on the top of the paper. (Getting the proper sequence can be tricky.) Another approach is to staple the pictures on to the yarn. This seems to work just as well.
  7. Students as a group are given the opportunity to stand up in front of the class holding onto their picture and reading their part of the story. The students are instructed in both presenting and listening skills during the presentations of the stories.
  8. The stories are to be displayed in the classroom.