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Learning through storytelling, literature and poetry

Telling, reading and writing stories and poetry can help language learning and other areas of the curriculum come alive. Encouraging young people to read for pleasure will bring benefits that will last a lifetime.

We have gathered together a range of storytelling, literature and poetry resources from our partner museums, galleries and art collections. Some of the resources are designed specifically for schools and teachers. Others are written for a general audience but could be used to provide ideas and contextual information for teaching, or might be useful for older students and lifelong learners.

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Bedtime Story

Bedtime Story 1992

Anita Klein (b.1960)

Leicestershire County Council Artworks Collection

 

Get creative with storytelling

Explore imaginative approaches to creating and writing stories and poems, and get crafty with making activities inspired by storytelling.

 

Stories and creative activities from Mythstories

Mythstories, the Museum of Myth and Fable, collects beautiful objects from around the world that can be used to tell stories, as well as commission new storytelling artworks.

Explore a wealth of stories, imaginative ideas for exploring stories and creative activities on the Mythstories website. There are resources for early years learners right up to 16+ students as well as activities for families to explore together.

Explore and enjoy Mythstories resources

Sita in the Forest

Sita in the Forest 1988

Dez Quarréll (b.1955)

Mythstories

British Library: Learning through children's books

From inventing your own superhero to making a pop-up book, the British Library has a wealth of fun and creative resources around children's books and storytelling.

Explore childrens' books activities

 

Stories from the Sea with Royal Museums Greenwich

Choose pirates, shipwrecks or exploration as the inspiration for a creative writing project with these activities for primary-age students.

Write a story inspired by the sea

National Museums Scotland: Museum stories with Chief Chebe

Watch Chief Chebe tell stories from Ghana through objects from the NMS collection and then download learning resources with related activity ideas. The resources are designed for primary-age students.

Explore museum stories with Chief Chebe

 

Design and Make your own story with the V&A

Use objects from around the home to help create your own story with this activity for families.

Make your own story activity

 

Tate Kids: create a surreal story

Use Surrealist artworks and imaginative words to create a surreal story.

Explore the activity

Dreaming Head

Dreaming Head 1938

John Armstrong (1893–1973)

Tate

 

Stone age storytelling with the Museum of London

Be inspired by stone age lives and explore the ancient craft of storytelling with this primary school resource from the Museum of London.

Download the resource

 

World Book Day activities from The Potteries Museum & Galleries

Have fun with a range of story-inspired making activities for children and explore story-themed trails of museum objects from The Potteries Museum & Galleries

Once Upon a Time resources

 

Art UK resource: Lewis Carroll's characters

Learn about the characters from Lewis Carroll's stories through sculpture and explore facial expression, pose and body language with drama activity suggestions. This lesson plan resource is designed for CfE Level 2/KS 2 students.

Explore Lewis Carroll's characters resource

The Tweedles

The Tweedles 2013

Simon Hedger

Haufre Gardens, Llandudno, Conwy

 

Creative poetry resources

From fascinating stories from history to poem artworks, find ideas and activities to inspire poetry-writing with your students in this section of the Round-up.

 

IWM Refugees and Evacuees: Letters and Poetry

Explore the rhythms of words with writer and performance poet Hafsah Aneela Bashir and create a poem based on thoughts of home, using the letters of a teenage refugee as inspiration. The resource is designed for CfE Level 2/KS 2 and CfE Level 3/KS 3.

Explore the IWM's Letters and Poetry resource

 

Puzzling Poems from Jupiter Artland

Discover how to create a poem with a difference with artist Alec Finlay.

Download the Puzzling Poems resource

Star/Steer

Star/Steer 1966

Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006) and Tarasque Press (active since 1964)

The Pier Arts Centre

 

Objects and poems with the Science Museum Group

Read poetry inspired by some unexpected sources and use the Science Museum's random object generator to find inspiration for your own poem!

Find poetry inspiration with the Science Museum

 

National Museum of Wales: From the Sky, I can see…

Use the story of amazing Welsh aeroplane pioneer Charles Horace Watkins and his plane Robin Goch as inspiration for a creative writing activity with this National Museum of Wales resource for primary students.

Download the resource (Welsh)

Download the resource (English)

 

Poetry resources from Art UK

How can we capture the poetry of words in art?

Learn about the visual poetry of Ian Hamilton Finlay and then have a go at writing a visual poem with this resource for CfE Level 2/KS 2 students.

Words into art: Ian Hamilton Finlay's visual poetry

 

Explore poem objects sited in the landscape and then create a poem artwork for an outdoor setting. This resource is for CfE Level 3/KS 3 students.

Poetry, art and landscape

 

Literature and poetry

Discover great writing, from the Greeks to contemporary authors.

 

Ophelia

Ophelia 1851–2

John Everett Millais (1829–1896)

Tate

The British Library: discovering literature and poetry

Explore a range of resources for discovering literature and poetry from different periods – from medieval manuscripts to twentieth-century authors and playwrights.

You can also listen to recordings of well-known figures reading poems by British and American poets...

Explore the British Library's literature and poetry resources

 

National Portrait Gallery: Picture the Poet

See the faces of over 50 poets working in Britain today and explore accompanying resources that suggest ways in which photography and portraiture can support and shape creative poetry making.

Visit the Picture the Poet resource

 

Ashmolean Museum Language and Literature resources

The Ashmolean Museum has a range of resources for teaching literature – from the Greek Classics to Shakespeare – to secondary students through museum objects and artworks as well as ideas for creative writing activities.

Resources for teaching language and literature

 

National Library of Scotland literature and language resources

Explore storytelling from fairy tales and folklore to science fiction, and learn about some of our most important authors including John Buchan and J. K. Rowling with resources for primary and secondary-age students.

Visit the NLS literature and language learning zone

A Fairy Tale

A Fairy Tale 1934 or before

Mark Lancelot Symons (1887–1935)

Newport Museum and Art Gallery

 

Literary lives

Learn about the lives that shaped some of our great writers.

 

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is dedicated to the life of the Scottish Bard. Visit the Museum's website and find out about his life and work. Although not specifically designed for schools as a learning resource it can be used to support lesson plans and study.

The life of Robert Burns resource

 

The National Library of Wales: Dylan Thomas

This online exhibition celebrates the life and work of Dylan Thomas through archive materials from the National Library of Wales. The archive materials can be used to support lesson plans and study.

Explore the exhibition

 

Abbotsford the home of Sir Walter Scott

Bring Sir Walter Scott to life through objects from the museum collection with this teacher's pack which can be used to teach students of all ages.

Sir Walter Scott teaching resources 

Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) Seated by the Clydeside

Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) Seated by the Clydeside 1832

John Greenshields (1795–1835)

Abbotsford, The Home of Sir Walter Scott

 

Glasgow Womens' Library online exhibitions

Explore the lives of Scottish writers Naomi Mitchison, Janet Paisley and Agnes Owens through objects in the GWL. These resources would suit older students or life-long learners.

Naomi Mitchison

Janet Paisley

Agnes Owens

Lady Naomi Mitchison (1897–1999), Author

Lady Naomi Mitchison (1897–1999), Author 1974

Clifton Ernest Pugh (1924–1990)

National Galleries of Scotland

 

The art of bringing stories to life

In the final section of this Round-up, discover resources that explore book design and the artworks and illustrations that help us picture the characters in stories. Have a go at making a book, designing decorative page borders and creating your own storybook illustrations.

 

Explore book design with The William Morris Society

125 years ago William Morris's Kelmscott Press published The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, embodying William Morris's design ideals.

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer 1896

William Morris (1834–1896)

William Morris Society

To celebrate this anniversary The William Morris Society invited contemporary letterpress printers and artists to reimagine an excerpt from Morris's Kelmscott Chaucer and have created some related activities for children.

Explore the reimagined designs of the Kelmscott Chaucer in this online exhibition

 

Download children's activity sheets inspired by William Morris's book design:

Make your own miniature paper book

Design your own decorative page borders

Create a William Morris-style tag for your book

 

Explore the art of Beatrix Potter with the V&A

Enjoy Beatrix Potter's drawings by browsing through some of her sketches from nature. Then have a go at designing and making a surreal creature inspired by Beatrix Potter's characters, with a 'design and make' activity for families. The activity could be easily adapted for use in the classroom.

Beatrix Potter: A life drawing nature 

Design and make a surreal critter

 

Tate Kids: draw a fairy tale

Have a go at some imaginative approaches to creating fairy tale characters with this Tate Kids resource.

Draw a fairy Tale resource

 

The New Art Gallery Walsall: Meet illustrator Diana Ewen

Find out about the processes used by storybook illustrators and how they put pictures to words, with illustrator Diana Ewen. This resource may be useful for older students interested in book illustration as a career.

Meet illustrator Diana Ewen

 

Explore more artworks inspired by stories and storytelling on Art UK.


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