The Story Box

Key words: Curriculum Materials/Literacy/ K-6

What is used:

A whole-language reading program called THE STORY BOX. This program contains a wide range of books with a variety of stories. The stories come in many different levels to meet the needs of your students. THE STORY BOX program focuses on three reading cue systems--the graphophonic (sound and symbol), syntactic (grammar), and semantic (meaning)--that are essential to ascertaining the meaning of a text. Most other traditional programs such as the basals, concentrate on only one cue system, the graphophonic. This means that the focus is only on one of the cue systems that fluent readers use. When we read for information or pleasure, rather than as an exercise or drill, we always read words within the context of other words. To access the semantic and syntactic cue systems, words must be read in a meaningful context. By teaching children only how to read words in isolation, providing them with only one cue system, we fail to show them the variety of strategies that exist in real reading situations. One of the goals of THE STORY BOX program stems from the belief that reading is best taught within the context of whole texts, allowing children to read for meaning and to learn how to employ a variety of reading strategies in constructing the meaning of texts. This also allows children to develop a full range of communication skills, including: reading, writing, speaking, listening, observing, illustrating, experiencing, and doing. Other goals include: guiding children to use all three reading cue systems; to expose children to rich, challenging literature, and to provide a variety of literary models; to involve children with activities that integrate all language skills and that make use of all learning modalities--visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and to be flexible, so that teachers can accommodate individual students' learning styles and needs. Since this is a whole language program, the activities and the way one goes about teaching different aspects of the stories will differ from one educator to the next.

Why it appears to work:

THE STORY BOX program is successful for several reasons. The physical structure of the books contributes to a satisfying reading experience. Each story is a book, complete in itself, and because of this children think of the books as "real" books rather than "school" books. The books are small and easy for the children to manipulate. The quality of the stories fosters a love of reading. THE STORY BOX provides enjoyable, meaningful stories by using imaginative plots, captivating illustrations, and appealing to the language of your students. Also, THE STORY BOX books are a wonderful way to involve the students in their own learning which makes it more enjoyable for them, and this is shown just by the excitement on their faces. Finally, the educator has a great deal of freedom to adapt her strategies to fit her students.


The Wright Group. (1990). The Story Box. Heinemann Education.

Young, Mary. (Deaf Educator) Personal Communication. Paul C. Bunn Elementary School. 1825 Seqyoya Dr. Youngstown, OH 44514. (330) 744-8963.

Uploaded by: Melissa Close/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major