Literacy Instruction

All things literacy!

Teacher Talk: Storylords

Teacher Talk: Storylords


Storylords WARNING!

This post in no way shape or form is about a best teaching practice. This teaching practice is so expired and out of date that I include a warning here. But it is fun, and kids love it. It’s not research-based at all.

Sit back, relax, and let me tell you about Storylords and why I love it so much!  

Most kids who grew up in Wisconsin in the 80s and 90s knows the joy of Storylords. To say this program is outdated is an understatement, but kids still love it. This show is by no means a #bestteachingpractice but a resource that might bring joy to your heart if you watch. I wouldn’t recommend using instructional time to watch Storylords. When I taught grade 3, we used to watch it during snack time just for fun. It in no way should replace or take meaningful instructional time. 

Thunder and Lightning, Trumpets and Drums, Readers Rejoice, A Storylord Comes!

Those are the words that Norbert uses to move into the world of the Storylords. Also, these are the words I hear kids using at recess when they’re playing Storylords. 

Storylords is an educational program about reading comprehension strategies. It is a very low-budget production. In the show, there is the evil Thorzuul. Thorzuul wants to turn all readers who can’t comprehend what they read into statues. Norbert becomes an apprentice Storylord and attempts to gain comprehension strategies to defeat Throzuul. 

Thanks to PBS Wisconsin, all of the episodes are on Youtube. The strategies taught are not bad strategies, in fact, they’re probably strategies you’re teaching in your classroom. The way they’re being taught isn’t the most up to date though. It’s really the use of a chalkboard among other things that give Storylords a special old-timey vibe. 

**It looks like PBS Wisconsin may have taken Storylords off youtube. I can’t tell if the links aren’t currently working because I am out of the US or because they really don’t work anymore. Luckily for all of us HERE is the entire series thanks to another youtube user. 

There are 12 episodes in total.

  1. Activating prior knowledge before reading
  2. Connecting what you know with what’s on the page
  3. Knowing when you don’t know (in your head)
  4. Knowing when you don’t know (on the page)
  5. Directed reading-thinking activity
  6. Question-answer relationships
  7. Decoding words in context
  8. Inferring word meaning in context
  9. Story mapping 
  10. Pronoun anaphora
  11. Identifying main idea and details
  12. Integrating comprehension strategies 


Once again, I cannot stress this enough; don’t waste your instructional time on this. Maybe one day, you’re out sick, and you could fill time with a little Storylords. The last time I watched this series was when the grade 3 teacher was out for a whole week, and we had to fill time with something. I mean, it is sort of educational. But just a little bit! 

Best of luck on your journey to becoming a Storylord!

Did you watch Storylords growing up? Do you have any outdated and old things that you love like Storylords? Share them in the comments below. I would love to hear what people just can’t get enough of. 

Weekly Wisdom

It does no good to teach a child to FIX errors if they don't know how to FIND them. Fountas and Pinnell

Weekly Wisdom

The objective of education is not to fill a man's mind with facts; it is to teach him how to use his mind in thinking. Henry Ford

Weekly Wisdom

A predictable lesson structure enables you to teach powerfully, it allows you to focus on the facilitative talk and precise language that will lift students. -Fountas and Pinnell

Weekly Wisdom

We should empower young writers to decide IF they want to revise. And, if they do, decide HOW and WHAT revisions they want to make. It's not realistic to expect them to revise everything because that is not how writing works. -Ralph Fletcher