I remember sitting at the campsite listening to my grandfather tell stories around the campfire and then sitting at my house on Saturday mornings watching Anndrena Belcher, an Appalachian storyteller on KET. She was terrific and kept me so engaged and interested in what she was going to do next. I use to love listening to people tell stories. It was one of my favorite past times, so hearing that April 27th was National Tell A Story Day, I found it to be a great time to talk about the difference, importance, and how to tell a story to children in the classroom.
Yes, there is a difference between reading a story and telling a story. Reading a story from a book allows children to see the words and pictures that accompany the story, whereas storytelling without a book gives the children an opportunity to make their own pictures to the story and to utilize their memory and imagination to create a further illustration of what the story is portraying. Telling a story can allow the storyteller to be creative and use their full body and props to engage their audience.
When you tell stories you are teaching the following:
As children are listening to the story, they are learning new words, meanings, and how to put those words into context. They are also able to see and hear the building of a plot, characterization, climax, conflict, and conclusion of the story.
Telling stories is a great way to help children utilize memorization skills. Without pictures or pages, it helps them memorize the story.
Storytelling opens their imagination and allows them to learn about other cultures and life philosophies. It helps children develop creative thinking skills and inspire further exploration of historical events.
The Mensa Foundation has a great resource on how to learn the art of storytelling. It gives you a significant step by step information on how to increase your ability to tell stories to all ages.
The power of storytelling in a classroom article by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, helps you see what you are adding the environment of the class as well as tips and tricks on how to tell a story to the class.
I enjoyed the Appalachian Storyteller so much when I was younger that I want to share her story here. Just watch how engaged she is and how animated she is when telling stories. It’s amazing. Yes, I know this video definitely tells my age but it is a great clip on how to tell a story. You can find more of her storytelling at https://www.ket.org/education/resources/telling-tales/. Check out their website as they have so many great resources for early education!