Anne Matava on Scripting Stories 1

The following information is taken from Anne’s Story Scripts, Vol. 1. After reading what Laurie says about scripting stories, I thought it appropriate to pull this information from an appendix (C) from that book to shed further light on the topic.
Appendix C:  How to Script a Story
I. Scripting a story to prepare for reading a novel or other text:
1.  Go to a chapter in the novel or short story, preferably the chapter you will be reading next with the class.
2.  Read the first few pages carefully, watching for words/ structures that are:
• high frequency in real life
• high frequency in this chapter or the novel in general
• interesting enough to create an engaging script from
• not so specific as to be limiting (it’s okay to have one very specific word, like “vacuum cleaner” or “navigate”.  The other two structures will need to be generic enough so that the story can go in a variety of directions.)
Jot down all words/ structures that fall into one or more of the above categories. The more categories they fall into, the more useful they will be to you and your students.
3. Look at the words you’ve jotted down. See if a story line appears to you. Don’t overthink it, just start writing. Write the first sentence, then the second one. See if there is a pattern emerging that could become repetitive. In my experience, the structures/vocabulary can become repetitive in one of two ways:
• you have the main character go to three locations and do more or less the same thing in each location.  (Easier, but can come across as somewhat predictable.)
• you find ways to work the vocabulary into the script repeatedly.  (More difficult, but the result is less contrived and more free-form.)
4.  Assuming that you are developing a script that follows the pattern of three locations, script the first and then the second location.  The third location should start out like the first two but you leave the end of it open, to see how the class will resolve it. (Examples to follow.)
5.  If you are not going to do the three locations, write the script so that the target structures get used more than once. It’s harder than it sounds. I shoot for three times each, but am happy with twice each.
6.  Write your script into a notebook. Write what level class it is for, and when you use it, write the date. Skip lines and leave spaces to write what the class comes up with. I usually do period 1 in red ink and period 5 in blue ink, so that I know which class came up with which detail.
Example: from Chapter 1 in The Trip of His Life, by Blaine Ray
possible phrases:
tries to
slaps his hand*
runs away*
(the last two are not from the text. They appeared repeatedly in my script. If my students already knew one of the first three structures, I might take one of these two in its place.)
Note: all underlined items are the variables. You will fill the blanks in with information supplied by your students.
Johnny is a thief. He takes/steals tacos from hairdressers. One day he goes to Toys R Us and sees 34.5 hairdressers. He tries to take/steal a taco from a hairdresser named Susie.  Susie is a tall, bearded hairdresser with 24 arms. She slaps Johnny’s hand and says, “Stop thief!” Johnny runs away.
He runs to the laundromat and sees 2 hairdressers..  He tries to take a taco from a hairdresser named Jenny. Jenny is short and beautiful and has no nose. She slaps Johnny’s hand and says, “Stop thief!” Johnny runs away.
Johnny runs to school and sees 4.7 hairdressers. He tries to take a taco from a hairdresser named Mr. Lynch. He takes the taco from Mr. Lynch! While he is eating the taco, Mr. Lynch takes one of Johnny’s gold teeth.
This is what the script looks like in my notebook:
_________is a thief.  He takes/ steals____________  from___________.  One day he goes to ___________ and sees________ __________.  He tries to take/ steal a_________ from a __________named___________. _________ is a _________________with___   _______.  She slaps__________’s hand and says, “Stop thief!” _____________ runs away.
He runs to _______________and sees ___   ____________.  He tries to take a______ from a __________ named _______. _______ is___________________.  She slaps__________’s hand and says, “Stop thief!” ____________ runs away.
Johnny runs to ___________ and sees ____  __________.  He tries to take a _______from a _____________named ________________.  (Ending is up to the students.)



4 thoughts on “Anne Matava on Scripting Stories 1”

  1. Ben,
    Thank you for putting up your script format. It’s really helpful to see how it’s actually structured besides reading the story.

  2. It is indeed helpful to see this. I have the book, but I have not got around to consulting it again as I prepare for the new year. Her book is going on the top of my pile now. I think many of us beginners can really benefit from as many concrete examples as possible right now, in order to have a structure to fall back on.

  3. I still fall back on Anne’s scripts, and it has been on top of my pile since I’ve bought it. I actually taught an individual lesson this morning, and used a story from my book “Nice to meet you.” Even though I’ve done the story before, and wrote it, I still found myself referring to it to keep myself from going to wide and keeping to the structures. Having the scripts in front of us IS important, especially for us who are continually working on simplifying our stories.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

CI and the Research (cont.)

Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could

Research Question

I got a question: “Hi Ben, I am preparing some documents that support CI teaching to show my administrators. I looked through the blog and

We Have the Research

A teacher contacted me awhile back. She had been attacked about using CI from a team leader. I told her to get some research from

The Research

We don’t need any more research. In academia that would be a frivolous comment, but as a classroom teacher in languages I support it. Yes,



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben