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The ability to tell a story goes way beyond simply using ‘Once Upon A Time…’  Telling stories, or more in our case, narratives, is a critical life skill that many of our students struggle with.  If you have ever asked a student with a language disorder what they did over the weekend you probably know what I mean.  Their weekend might sound more like a crazy science fiction, time traveling tale, rather than how they went to their grandma’s house for her birthday.  So how can we help these students? Make them Story Champs!

If you haven’t heard of Story Champs, I’m going to fill you in.  Story Champs is an language intervention program from Language Dynamics.  Story Champs is a multi-tiered language curriculum that is easy to implement, fast-paced, and powerful. The curriculum targets story structure and complex language features necessary for understanding and producing oral and written language that children need for academic success. Story Champs aligns with the Common Core State Standards and provides schools with the tools necessary to strategically and systematically focus on language. One of the important aspects of Story Champs that sets it apart from other narrative resources, is that it is offered in a Bilingual Version!  The materials included ( which I’ll get to in just a moment ) are supplied in English and Spanish! I don’t know about you, but having something that allows for the support of all of my students is a pretty powerful tool.

Story Champs was designed to be a multi-tiered curriculum so that it is easy to use within Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) or Response to Intervention (RTI) models. Story Champs lessons can be implemented in various arrangements, including large groups, small groups, and with individual students. Each lesson lasts 15-45 minutes, depending on the arrangement and language needs of the student(s).


What’s In The Box?

You’re probably wondering what goodies come with this wonderful tool.  Well let me share all the fun things that are in the box when it arrives.  I am going to share what is in the Bilingual Edition since that is what I used. List alert, it’s a long one, but that is a good thing right 😉

    • English Story Book with 24 stories (12 Classic Stories with levels A/B, 12 BLITZ stories with levels A-J)


    • NEW! Spanish Story Book contains Spanish translations of the same 24 stories that are in the English Story Book


    • Printed illustration cards (5″x6″ illustration panels for each of the stories)


    • Dry Erase Champ Checks for Level A/B and Level C-I/J


    • Icons needed to teach basic, enhanced, and advanced story structure


    • Icons needed to teach connection and sparkle words


    • Icons needed to teach informational text


    • Story Starter cards (individual illustration cards to support fictional and personal story generation)


    • Story Games for small group/individual instruction (Bingo Cards, story sticks and story cubes)


  • NEW! Flash Drive with lots of extras in both English and Spanish:
    – Manual (English only)
    – Master Lesson Plans with over 60 lesson plans (English and Spanish – instructions in English, with spoken scripts translated into Spanish)
    – Digital Presentation (interactive presentation of illustrations and icons for display on tablet, computer, or project to entire classroom for instruction)
    – Writing Activitites for narrative and informational writing (printable .pdf) (English and Spanish)
    – Classroom Center Activities (printable .pdf)
    – Take-homes (printable .pdf) (English and Spanish)
    – Spot the Sparkle Posters (printable .pdf) (English and Spanish)
  • Research Based!!! Yup, they have over 20 studies backing this curriculum. 

Phew! Did you get all that?  One of my favorite things in the kit is probably the Take-Home printables.  They are perfect because it covers exactly what we targeted that day, reinforces the concepts in a new setting, and helps to include the family.  What’s not to love about that!

CUBED Insight Assessment

Something not in the box that I used was CUBED. Since I am a data nut, I took advantage of their digital assessments to help me collect baseline data on students and progress monitor them. This assessment if very intuitive and can even help you group students based on needs. One of the aspects that really drew me to using this assessment with my Story Champs kids is the care that was taken to reduce cultural bias when collecting data. Across culturally and linguistically diverse students (including Hispanic, Native American, and African American students, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds), research shows that the CUBED has limited assessment bias and excellent predictive validity.

So, What Exactly Do You Do With It?

This part is similar to other systems you may have come across. Students are taught each of the story icons in the set – character, problem, feeling, action, ending. There are additional icons for more advanced students, including setting, plan, consequence, etc. I didn’t use the advanced ones with my students this time simply because they are not at that level yet.  I will say the icons are good representations of their elements.  I actually used them with some of students in the speciality programs I service and they caught on to them pretty quickly.
To start, I read the story to the students using the illustration cards. They are numbered to show you the order to use and the story for the cards is pre-written in the book. As I tell the story, I place an icon on the corresponding card to help make the connection between the icon/story element and that part of the story.  After that, we discuss it and work on answering questions and practice vocabulary. They provide specific vocabulary words in the book to target which I found very helpful instead of my trying to think of words on the fly.  I would write the words on index cards and we would use those as practice.
After I have told the story with the illustration cards and icons, we then retell the story together. I help my students as much as they need, being sure to model language and vocabulary as we go. Then I have them  retell the story on their own.  The included lesson plan manual gives some nice suggestions for activities to do with this. After that,  I remove the illustration cards and have them to retell the story using only the icons. Finally, they retell the story again with no icons or illustrations.
See how much practice they can get in one session?! We know repetition is key and this definitely helps them get in a good amount.

What I Like

This curriculum has been great for my students! The story illustrations cards are simple and not too busy so they are not distracted by the details.  The symbols used for each story element are straightforward and used throughout all of the materials, providing lots of exposure to them which assists in recall. I love the included activities and printables.  Planning an effective lesson ca be tough, even with great materials, so the facts that they have taken care of this part too is a huge plus for me.  Story Champs comes with a manual that helps to guide you through the process of using it.  It’s not complicated and gives some great ideas on extension activities too.  The kit comes with materials for games such as BINGO, so you have always add in some extra fun while still targeting student’s narrative development.

Is it worth it?

Completely!  I know, I know, the price tag on it may be a bit startling ( $338 ), but I truly see this as being one of those resources that will pay for itself in time. I used it at least once a day, usually more. I saw progress and my kids were engaged. The best part of all was to see their own confidence grow with it.  They would start to say, “Mrs. Wilson, I know these ( icons ) already, I don’t need them.” They were feeling confident in their language skills that they asked not to use the supports! * Excuse why I take a moment to savor that experience.  Why else should this be a speech room staple?  As if being heavily  researched based wasn’t enough, it comes with everything you need ready to go. No scrambling to prep or wracking your brain to plan. I love how I can use it one on one or with a group, week after week, and have things still be fresh and new.  Also, as SLPs are becoming more involved in RtI/MTSS, having tools on hand to help support these students is key. This curriculum allows you to work confidently with these students as you track their progress.

I hope you have found this helpful if you were wondering about Story Champs. If you have any questions about it, please leave a comment or you can reach out to Story Champs directly ( their customer service is great ) at

*A copy of Story Champs 2.0 Bilingual Edition was supplied in order to complete this review. The opinions are all mine 😉


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Meet Maureen

Hey there! I’m Maureen Wilson, a school-base SLP who is data driven and caffeine powered. My passion is supporting other pediatric SLPs by teaching them how to harness the power of literacy and data to help their students achieve their goals…without sacrificing time they don’t have.

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5 Responses

  1. I have been researching this program and I am having a hard time determining what age group Story Champs would be best for. Would it be too simple for my 5th graders?

    1. It depends on their ability level. I feel like the tools and strategies they learn are good for 5th grade.

  2. I have the kit from my school system. Are there visuals, videos of usage for a brush up session using this material?

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