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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tate Kids: create a surreal story
Use Surrealist artworks and imaginative words to create a surreal story.
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.
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
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.
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.
Puzzling Poems from Jupiter Artland
Discover how to create a poem with a difference with artist Alec Finlay.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Literature and poetry
Discover great writing, from the Greeks to contemporary authors.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Download children's activity sheets inspired by William Morris's book design:
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.
Tate Kids: draw a fairy tale
Have a go at some imaginative approaches to creating fairy tale characters with this Tate Kids 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.
Explore more artworks inspired by stories and storytelling on Art UK.