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Time to Listen

Storytelling is not a time for adults to simply read books to children. It’s a time to bring oral stories to life through expressive communication. It's a time to make up stories together and time to listen to each other’s stories. Performing and listening develop communication skills, increase vocabulary, and encourage creativity,

  • Stories help us understand ourselves, others, and the world around us.
    When children listen to and tell stories, they begin to develop a sense of who they are.

  • Telling stories encourages self-expression.
    As children watch and listen to you tell stories, they learn expression, movement, and gestures. Then, when they tell you stories they use their bodies and their voices to share information and express feelings.

  • Telling stories stimulates emotional development.
    Hearing about fictional characters and making up characters and events for their own stories give children a safe way of sharing emotions and feelings.

  • Storytelling improves comprehension.
    Listening to and telling stories add dimensions that reading does not provide. We observe, speak, and hear, using more senses to better understand a story.

  • Sharing stories builds relationships.
    Children learn when and how to respond to stories and can interact with the storyteller.

  • Performing builds self-confidence.
    Whether telling a story to one person or many, children build confidence as they discover that people will listen to what they have to say.

Storytelling Tips

The more you tell stories to children, the better storyteller you will become. Here are some tips to help you capture and keep a young child’s interest in your story.

  • Observe the child as you speak and make changes or clarify vocabulary as needed.

  • Encourage interaction and participation through questions or repetition of verses or clapping hands and snapping fingers.

  • Change your voice and expressions, and use gestures to keep the child interested.

  • Use words that describe the characters and places so that children can imagine the scene in their mind's eye.

  • Re-tell stories—they grow bigger and better with each telling and children love to anticipate points where they can take over the storytelling in familiar stories.


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Updated on 3/21/2012