12 Fun Story lessons for French Comprehensible Input

12 fun story lessons for comprehensible input

When doing comprehensible input story lessons, there are three important things that go into every lesson. First, the lesson should be comprehensible – don’t use too many new words or structures, and make sure the students can understand what you are saying. Second, the lesson should include lots of repetition and circling. Third, you should speak slowly and clearly – and when you feel like it’s too slow, it’s probably still too fast!

Some teachers like to make up a new story each day with only the most basic idea of a script – or no idea of a script at all! But many teachers don’t like the pressure of feeling that they have to be creative every single day, and these teachers like to start the lesson with an actual script. To help teachers like this, I have written a collection of comprehensible input short story lessons that can be used in first and second year French classes. The stories are also available in other languages, so if you’re teaching Spanish, Russian, Italian, German or ELL, I’ve got you covered!

The structure of the silly story lessons

Each of the story lessons has the same structure. The lesson includes a story script, comprehension questions, a “who said it” activity, and a video version of the story. The final activity is a story retell activity. Let’s take a closer look at each section of the lesson.

The story lesson script

The script is the backbone of the story lessons. It is a script for the teacher to use to tell the story. It is a printable version of the story that you can use to help you remember the plot. At the beginning of the script you will find the vocabulary and structures that are the focus of the story.

The story script is printable on one page, so you can assign it as a reading activity as well as use it as a reading assessment if you wish. As you are telling the story the first time through orally with the students, this is where you want to get your circling and repetition in. Once the students understand the basics of the plot, you can have them add new details.

The activities

After you’ve read the story and the students have had a chance to process it, you can move on to the activities. There are comprehension questions about the story as well as a ‘who said it’ activity. The comprehension questions are very basic questions to check that they understand the main plot points. The who said it questions are based on lines from the story lessons, but there are some lines that are things that a character might have said, but didn’t. If the students have understood the story, they will be able to answer the questions without any trouble.

The video

The final piece in the story lessons is the video. This is an “explainer” type video with static images and the text from the story. Some teachers prefer to put the video version of the story on the screen when they work through the story for the first time rather than using the story script. This can be helpful for students who need the written word on the screen to help with their listening comprehension.

Because of the way the videos are to be used, there is no sound. Instead, the teacher will be pausing the video frequently as they circle and add details to the story. The link to the video can be shared with students as well. Students can watch the video, pause it, and read it silently and later out loud to practice the story retell. This is preparing them for the final activity in the story lessons.

The story retell activities

The final activities in the story lessons is the student retell. There are two story retell activities – a written and a spoken one. You can give the students both versions, and they can practice retelling the story. Each activity has six screenshots from the story. Students can write a short sentence under each image to explain that part of the plot for the written version, and for the spoken version they can tell you what the plot is. The story retell doesn’t include everything from the story, but enough of the main plot points for the students to have control over most of the story.

Available story lessons

These story lessons are available individually, but also in bundle 1.

Story lessons - l'homme invisible

L’homme Invisible

Jerome is in love with Sophie. But there’s a problem – he’s very, very small. So small that Sophie can’t see him and doesn’t know he exists. Can he find a way to get Sophie to notice him and go out with him on a date? 

  • amoureux/amoureuse – in love with
  • ne le voit pas – doesn’t see him
  • il achète – he buys
  • plus petit que – smaller than

Le Mauvais Chef

Le Mauvais Chef is bad – really bad. He puts too much salt on EVERYTHING. He’s sad and customers are angry. But is there a simple solution? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • trop de sel – too much salt
  • vous êtes – you are
  • un mauvais chef – a bad chef
  • il met – he puts
Story lessons - le mauvais chef
Story lessons - marc a faim

Marc a Faim

Marc is a squirrel, and he’s hungry. And while his refrigerator is full, it doesn’t have his favorite food – baguettes! How can he fill his stomach? Can his friends help him? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • a faim – is hungry
  • il n’y a que – there is only
  • il cherche – he looks for
  • une baguette – a loaf of bread

Le Cadeau Parfait

Amadou wants to find the perfect gift for his mother’s birthday. But somehow, his gifts don’t work out. Can he find the right gift to show his love for her, or will she be disappointed? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • le cadeau parfait – the perfect gift
  • il veut lui donner – he wants to give him/her
  • dans sa poche – in his pocket
Story lessons - le cadeau parfait

These story lessons are available individually, but also in bundle 2.

Story lessons - j'ai mal

J’ai mal

Dad is watching the kids while mom’s at work, but they keep ending up getting hurt. Will they make it through the day, or will disaster strike? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • J’ai mal – I hurt
  • Je me suis cassé… – I broke
  • Tu devrais – you should
  • Tu faisais – you were doing
Story lessons - le grand chien

Le Grand Chien

Juliette has a dog, a really big dog. Her dog is causing trouble at school, because he keeps eating her homework. Will she be able to convince her teacher that the dog really is hungry enough to eat her homework? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • a mangé – ate
  • demande – asks
  • ne la croit pas – doesn’t believe her
  • avait faim – was hungry

Le Pantalon Moche

Marc loves his red pants, but all of the other kids laugh at him when he wears them. So he tries other pants – but they still laugh. Could the problem be something other than his questionable fashion choices? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • il s’habille – he gets dressed
  • moche – ugly
  • ne comprend pas – doesn’t understand
  • en solde – on sale
Story lessons - le pantalon moche

Tu Sens Mauvais!

Marcie loves cheese. She REALLY loves cheese – so much that she smells like cheese. Her boyfriend Peter doesn’t like cheese at all. How can Marcie reconcile her love for cheese with her love for Peter? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • sent mauvais – smells bad
  • Je ne t’aime plus – I don’t love you any more
  • Beaucoup de fromage – a lot of cheese
  • il/elle met – he/she puts
Story lessons - tu sens mauvais

These stories are available individually, but also in bundle 3.

Story lessons - la pomme de terre seule

La pomme de terre seule

Joe is a potato, and he’s lonely. He’s got a plan to find a girlfriend – but will it backfire? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • seul – lonely
  • il s’est habillé – he got dressed
  • pensait – he thought
  • était – was

Le Président Américain

The American President may be powerful, but he isn’t happy. He’d much rather be singing. He wants to be better than the best – and he flies around the world to prove it. But can he succeed at achieving his dream job? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • rend visite – visits
  • mieux que – better than
  • veut changer – wants to change
  • la Maison-Blanche – the White House
Story lessons - le president americain
Story lessons - le monstre sous le lit

Le Monstre sous le Lit

There is a monster under the bed! That is scary for any kid, but how does the monster feel about having a little girl on top of the bed?  The targeted structures for this story are:

  • sous le lit – under the bed
  • j’ai peur – I’m scared
  • il y a – there is/there are
  • sur le lit – on the bed

Tu Conduis mal!

Bob is a horrible driver – he’s always distracted and he drives on the sidewalks frequently. Will anyone be able to change his irresponsible ways? The targeted structures for this story are:

  • conduit mal – he/she drives badly
  • sur le trottoir – on the sidewalk
  • a écrasé – ran over
  • je ne l’ai pas vu – I didn’t see him/it
Story lessons Tu conduis mal

Story lessons in other languages

The story lessons are also available in the following languages:

German: Die hässlichen Hosen, Der große Hund, Du Stinkst, Der böse Koch, Das perfecte Geschenk, Der unsichtbare Mann, Die Kartoffel allein, Du fährst schlecht, Der amerikanische Präsident, Das Monster unter dem Bett, Es tut weh!, Frank hat Hunger

Russian: Артур голоден, Идеальный подарок, Человек-невидимка, Плохой повар, Большая собака, ты плохо пахнешь!, удобные штаны, У меня болит!, Монстр под кроватью, Одна картошка, Вы плохо водите авто!, Американский президент

Italian: Filippo ha fame, L’uomo Invisible, Il Cuoco Cattivo, Il Regalo Perfetto, I pantaloni brutti, Tu hai un cattivo odore, Il cane alto, Fa male

Spanish: El mal chef, Andrés tiene hambre, Me duele, El monstruo bajo la cama, los Pantalones feos, La papa sola, El Presidente Americano, Conduces mal, El Hombre invisible, El Perro grande, El regalo perfecto, Hueles Mal

English: The Bad Chef, The Perfect Gift, The Invisible Man, Mark is Hungry, The Ugly Pants, It hurts, The Big Dog, You Smell Bad

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