Open Educational Resource
Open Educational Resource



Oral Storytelling: Interviews

Oral Storytelling: Interviews

This tip sheet supports learners in conducting rich and thoughtful interviews that guide storytellers to share vivid and meaningful details from their stories.


4 - 12


Storytelling, Professional Learning

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Learning materials

Why Use This Tool

This tip sheet supports learners in conducting rich and thoughtful interviews that guide storytellers to share vivid and meaningful details from their stories.

When to Use This Tool

  • Stage(s) of Learning: Explore - Use this tool to dig deeper into content or analysis
    • Elaborate- Use this tool to extend learning and move to a new context
  • Time: 30+ min.
  • Audience: Grades 4-12
  • Ease of Use: Moderate This activity may require some support with brainstorming and drafting interview questions. You can also guide students through the planning stages of the process and provide guided practice for conducting interviews.

How to Use This Tool

Preparation: Assign students an topic/objective for their interview (e.g., interview someone about a historical event, special memory, or experience migrating to a new country, etc.) Be sure to guide students in researching the interview topic and interviewee to prepare for the interview. Short simple videos showing stages of the interviewing process could provide auditory and visual stimulus to engage students and prepare them for planning their interviews. Prepare copies of the Oral Storytelling: Interviews Learning Tool to distribute to students.


  1. Distribute the tip sheet to learners and tell them to review the steps silently and consider any questions they might have.
  2. Review the steps on the tip sheet and allow time to respond to any questions.
  3. Develop interview questions with students. Provide opportunities for background research if possible.
  4. Provide modeling and guided practice through one or more steps of the process, depending on the needs of your students. Consider allowing students to “mock” interviews with one another as practice.
  5. Check in with students as they plan their interviews to make sure they are prepared.
  6. Follow up with students after interviews. Address any challenges they experienced during the process.

Modifications, Variations, and Extensions:

  • Younger students can interview classmates on familiar topics to practice interviewing skills.
  • Provide sentence starters, checklists (for interviewing steps), sample interview questions, and graphic organizers for younger students and students who require additional support.
    • Consider varied formats for sharing student interviews, such as:
    • Student groups create slideshows with important quotations.
    • Students write journalistic articles based on the interview.
    • Students choose powerful statements from interviewees to form class or group documentary poems.
    • Students record interviews and create podcasts from clips individually or as a group.

The National Geographic Society is making this content available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA license. The License excludes the National Geographic Logo (meaning the words National Geographic + the Yellow Border Logo) and any images that are included as part of each content piece. For clarity the Logo and images may not be removed, altered, or changed in any way.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Last Updated

April 22, 2024

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