The Amazing 5-Finger Story

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Imagine a speech tool that requires no prep, no materials, and can be used with any age. Welcome to the beauty of the 5-Finger Story. 

In a nutshell, the 5-finger story uses each finger of the hand to retell a personal narrative. Students start by touching their thumb and describing what their story will be about, then move on to the index, middle, and ring fingers as they state 3 supporting details, before ending at the pinky with how it made them feel.

Simple right? But here is why it's AMAZING! With the 5-Finger Story you can . . .

  • Target a variety of goals. From formulating grammatically correct sentences, using descriptive details, fluency, articulation, and even pragmatics, these stories can be adapted to address it all. 
  • Foster connection and community. Kids love sharing! And I love getting a peek into their interests. We often use these stories as a jumping off point for conversation by asking follow up questions and making supportive comments. If you're interested in even more ways to keep the conversation going, check our these free digital and print resources.  
  • Keep students on track. The visual and tactile component of the 5-Finger Story helps students stay on topic. For students who are less verbal, it encourages a longer response, while for students who have a hard time knowing when to stop, it can provide a clear ending point. With only 3 fingers to provide supportive details, these students must focus on the most important ones! 
  • Build emotional vocabulary. Use each story as an opportunity to move beyond "happy." Talk about degrees of emotion, that's it's ok to not feel happy all the time, or find a synonym using this emotion wheel.
  • Create a simple speech routine. Simplifying is the name of the game for me this year. Not to mention my students find comfort in routine as well, which may be why this is one of their most requested activities. We often start our week with a 5-Finger Story about the weekend. It's important to reinforce the story can be about a big or small moment. 

When shelter in place began, and I was scrambling to create an online learning platform, you better believe I pulled this little gem out of my back pocket. Here's a video I made for my students our fist week of distance learning, if you're interested in seeing the 5-Finger Story in action. 

Hope this helps keep you and your students fired up this school year! If you decide to give the 5-Finger Story a try, let me know! I'd love to hear how it goes! 
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