The Art of Storytelling

Storytelling is an art, which needs to be developed and refined over time. The most important ingredient is the storyteller who skills can turn a simple short story into an exciting and fascinating tale, to the delight of young children!

Each teacher should develop her own style and technique in storytelling. She should also compile a selection of children’s stories to meet the changing abilities and interests of children.

Guidelines in Storytelling

  1. Select a story appropriate to the age group. Young children like simple folk tales, and stories with elements that relate to their daily experiences of the world around them.
  2. Let children sit comfortably in a semi-circle close to you. Eye contact is important, so sit on a low stool in order that you can talk to children at their eye level.
  3. Write the title of the story on the board and read it to the children. Children should know the title of each story they have heard.
  4. Show children pictures on the book cover and inside. use flannelgraph figures or puppets to capture and maintain children’s attention.
  5. Introductory activities add to the enjoyment and understanding of the story. The key words should be explained as they are essential to children’s understanding.
  6. Use your voice effectively to stimulate greater interest and pleasure.
  7. Begin your story, once you have the attention of all the children. Remind them to “listen” attentively while you tell the story.
  8. Invite children to share their views and feelings about the characters and action in the story as a follow-up activity.
  9. Encourage children to ask and answer questions about the story. Children may also take the opportunity to dramatize the story.
  10. Relate elements in the story to children’s real life experiences where applicable.
  11. Have read “read” the title of the story and key words.
  12. End the storytelling session on a positive note.

When teachers share stories with groups of children, there is a limit to the amount of discussion that can transpire before a story begins to lose momentum. Expert teachers use professional judgement to decide when the children’s attention needs to be re-directed back to the book. As children acquire additional experience with literature, they will become more skilled at focusing discussions on the story, or on personal experiences related to the story.

Talking about picture books become far more pleasurable when adults ask questions without obvious right and/or wrong answers, thus challenging children’s thinking. When teachers use open-ended discussion techniques, children have opportunities to talk about literature in more meaningful ways.

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