Storytelling ideas

24th September 2004 at 01:00
Rehearsal time

* Picture the story in your head. Draw up a storyboard, with images representing beginning, middle and end, and give each a title. This will help you define where the story is going and bring it to mind quickly.

* Give each section a couple of sentences or key words that will jog your memory. Move back and forth between the pictures so that you have a clear view of where the story is going. What words will provide the bridge to move the story forward? They will be essential to the flow of your story.

How will you keep up the pace?

* Think about the sentence you will use as an ending. Does it sum up the heartbeat of the story? Imagine that it is underlined and then think about how it can have prominence when spoken to the class.

* You don't have to know exactly what you are going to say, but it helps to have a few key lines. I find it useful to visualise a ladder in my head: each rung is a sentence, a part of the tale that allows me to climb from A to B.

Dos and don'ts

* Keep the story simple and the meaning obvious.

* Don't worry about getting it absolutely perfect; remember, the story is yours so take control of it.

* Speak slowly and clearly, projecting to the back of the room. Don't be afraid to pause, or take a breath for effect. This will add power to your words.

* Vary your tone to illustrate a change in character or atmosphere. If there's a wicked king in your tale then speak with a deeply evil drawl.

* Use your face, hands, arms, legs and so on to add expression. When a child tells a story every part of their body is involved in the telling.

Use the same skills to reach their imaginations: if the king has stomach ache, clutch your stomach and rock forward in pain.

* Don't forget to smile and enjoy telling your tale.

Activities

* Draw the children in. Ask them to imagine that they are a character in the tale. Ask questions about how they feel, what they think and what they saw in their role.

* Do a storyboarding exercise. This works well in groups, and can instigate exciting discussions. Give each group three large sheets of paper, for the beginning, middle and end. Let their imaginations go wild as they fill in each section.

* Allow some time at the end of the session for each group to stand up and show their storyboards, while going through the tale.

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