YouTube Videos for Narrative Development


I’ve been working with younger kiddoes a lot lately, and since I’ve also been researching the strong connection between language and literacy (more on that later), it’s inspired me to write a post with a list of some of my favorite online videos. Most of them are silent (I like wordless picture books, too!), therefore it may not help with exposure to vocabulary, but they help build childrens’ schemata of a good narrative, and I’ve also used them to work on past tense, on retelling, on pronouns, and a slew of other speech and language goals.

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YouTube Videos for Narrative Development

Almost any movie or show can be used to address narrative (or syntax, or retelling) goals, but below are some channels, playlists, and individual videos that I like the best, and use the most frequently:

  • Simon’s Cat: these are a goldmine. Most have a simple beginning, middle, end (aka character/setting, problem, resolution), and they’re very funny. Kids almost always love them!
  • Animated Short Films: This channel is one of my favorites. It has 21 videos (at press time), including a lot of Pixar short films, which are beautifully done and have a wonderful narrative structure. They also require some
  • Pixar Shorts: This playlist has 26 Pixar shorts, and each is wonderful in its own way.
  • Carrot Crazy
  • Oktopodi: this is one of my favorites. It is silent and has to do with two octopi and someone who wants to eat one of the octopi. I’ve also used it to address inferring (e.g. where are they? how do you know? what do you think will happen after the movie is over?), but the narrative elements (character, setting, problem, resolution) are clear in it
  • Crumbs
  • Tom & Jerry (this is a Tom & Jerry channel, but there are several others): Yes, they are overly simplified and yes, they are somewhat violent, BUT they are excellent for working (and they make me nostalgic for Fridays at my grandparents’ house when I was a kid 
  • Paper Man: this is a sweet NYC love story that is more appropriate for older students (who also sometimes require narrative support)

I will continue to update this list as I find others. Please share yours in the comments!

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