The Unfolding Story

The kick-off meeting for Conversations in the Medieval Story was a blast. I think it’s a wonder that Beowulf survived the centuries. Some say it began as an oral tradition and others say it was first written down and then copied over and over. Either way it is incredible that a story that is over 1000 years old remains in tact and retains it’s original plot line. In light of this, we played The Unfolding Story. This game isn’t necessarily a literature game. It can be played in any setting simply for fun. I chose it because a story is written and passed around a group.

How to play The Unfolding Story

1. Everyone in a group receives one sheet of lined notebook paper and writes the first sentence of a story on the top line.

2. Pass the papers to the right.

3. Read the previous sentence and add a sentence of your own.

4. Fold the paper to hide the first sentence on the page so the next person can only see the last sentence written. Pass it to the right.

5. Keep writing sentences and passing the paper to the right until all the lines are filled on the notebook pages.

6. When all lines are filled, everyone in the group should be holding a skinny folded up piece of paper. It may not be the page you started and that’s okay.

7. In turns, unfold the story in your hands and read it aloud. To enjoy this to the fullest, the reader must do her best NOT to laugh while she reads. If she can’t restrain herself, she should pass it along to someone else. The fun of the game is hear the stories in the same way as you would listen to any story when it’s read aloud.

The Bible says that laughter is good medicine, which means that everyone who was there last night should be exceptionally healthy for quite awhile. Below are three video examples of how much fun you can have studying classical literature. I wish I could show them all to you because i am so proud of these kids. Each video is two minutes or less. Get your endorphins flowing and enjoy!

How about you? Did you have this much fun studying the classics when you were young?

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.


  1. Haha, that’s an awesome game. Sadly, I honestly can’t remember what I did in my classic literature club.

  2. No, I haven’t had a lot of fun, if any, with the classic literature study programs. It was still wonderful, getting to know the classics though, but I wish my teachers have employed different- more fun – tactics
    I love the idea of The Unfolding Story game. I will share it with my son’s teacher, if she doesn’t know it already 🙂

    • Ali Dent says:

      Angela, I know a family that plays this game every Christmas. Their family is small so instead of sentences, they can write as much as they like. At the end they have loads of fun reading the stories.

  3. Vladimir (@socialmediatry) says:

    This is proof how a simple game can be a lot of fun.
    Keep on the good work!

    • Ali Dent says:

      It is so versatile too. I first played it on vacation with the kids. I know a family that plays it together every Christmas. If you need a goo laughter fix, this game is for you.

  4. I wish we’d had this much fun in literature. The best one of my teachers could come up with was to have us dress up and act out some of the scenes. Except boys were girls and girls were boys. That was pretty hilarious, but only for one day. Sigh.

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