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Teach Your Child to Be a Good Storyteller

Storytelling is almost as natural for humans as breathing! Down through the ages people have gathered together to tell their stories and listen to tales. Teaching your child to be a good storyteller will be carrying on an age old tradition.

Good storytellers are seldom born. They learn by listening and watching other good storytellers. The ability to captivate listeners is developed and honed by practice and experimentation. The only way to become a storyteller is to start telling stories! You may discover the story starts telling itself!

Preschool

All children, but especially preschoolers love stories. Whether stories are read or manufactured on the spot, they are a source of excitement and immense entertainment. Making story time a regular activity in your home will help your youngster develop a repertoire of their own.

Alternating turns at telling will give everyone “airtime”. You will be surprised what your preschooler will come up with if they have been exposed to vivid language and encouraged to use their imagination.

Acting out stories with props or costumes make stories come alive. Tape recording your family stories can encourage dramatization and good expression and preserve stories for retelling.

If you preschooler goes on and on, set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes. Shy storytellers can use a mask or hat to “hide” behind. Letting your shyer child become ready in his own time will prevent resistance and keep story time fun.

Main points to address:

  • Millions of storytellers have gone before us.
  • Read great stories to your kids.
  • Create a family story hour.
  • Use props and costumes to double the impact.
  • Let shy children pass.

Grades K-3rd

Kindergarten and primary teachers will tell you that stories hold a very important place in the school day. They not only enrich early literacy, but exercise the creative, spontaneous right side of the brain. Use of the imagination during the telling and the hearing is measurably higher than with other activities.

Young school age children love to put their own stories on paper. Drawing a story can be just as fun as writing one or telling one. Many storytellers use a story map to plan the sequence of events in their stories.

Children 7-9 can begin to write their stories out. This is different from traditional storytelling, but good practice for learning the progression and flow all good storytellers use.

Story time at a library will let kids see and hear professional tellers. Listening to stories on tape, especially tale tales, legends and traditional stories, will activate the imagination as well. Having a story-themed birthday or holiday party could be great fun.

This age child is able to incorporate facial expression and body movement, as well as experiment with the tone, volume and pacing of their telling. Encourage them to do their own thing with their interpretation of traditional stories, or in the telling of their own.

Most importantly- keep telling your child stories!

Main points to address:

  • Stories promote acquisition of early language skills.
  • Children like to draw, write and read their own stories.
  • Seek out professional storytellers.
  • Keep telling stories to your child.


Grades 4-6th

Older elementary children love stories still- especially stories of adventure, danger and horror. Reading fictional classics like Tom Sawyer, Aladdin’s Lamp and Black Beauty will delight your child and keep their young imagination alive.

Encouraging your child to try their hand at storytelling in front of an audience sounds risky, but will develop courage and self-confidence. Entering a talent or storytelling contest can be an exciting way to use their skills.

Your child may enjoy sharing their stories by volunteering to tell them at a daycare center or nursing facility. Again, adding costumes, props or music such as a guitar, recorder or harmonica can add effect.

If the only thing that becomes of your family’s stories is they are eventually passed down to your grandkids, that’s okay. You will have joined countless others in preserving the tradition of telling of the adventure, tragedy and calamity that is the human experience!

Main points to address:

  • Keep reading many genres of books with your child.
  • If your child is ready, find an arena for performing their stories.
  • Gather around a campfire and take turns telling spooky stories.
  • Add music to your child’s props.
  • Maintain a family tradition of storytelling through the years.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

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