"Tell A Story"  is the title of an article I recently found while cleaning out my "in-box" in my home office. 

My in-box is stuffed with things of interest. The title caught my eye and I had to see why I had saved this article. It came from a Better Homes and Garden Magazine dated 2001. WOW, I had kept it a long time so it must have been worth keeping. 


Storytelling is an age old method of passing on family history, or just having a good time around the campfire.  Anyone can be a storyteller and most of us have been at one time or another.

Just the other day as I was asking kindergartners about a book one little girl started telling "her story."  She was already becoming a storyteller.  She just didn't know it.

A person doesn't have to be a master story teller, one who can spin a tale at the drop of a hat, to be a storyteller.  Here are a few ways you can weave storytelling while reading a book to your children.

Tips for Storytelling

  1. When reading a book, stop and ask the child to imagine what the place looks like.  For instance, when reading The Three Billy Goats Gruff  ask the children what kind of bridge they see in their minds.  Ask them to close their eyes and think about different bridges and ask them what they see.

    Some children may even want to draw what they see.  You can purchase very inexpensive white boards at the Dollar Stores (especially in late July and August when Back To School supplies are plentiful).  Have several of these on hand to pass out to all of the children in the group.

  2. You might even suggest some places you have been as ask them to recall what the bridges looked like.  Discuss if what they see in their "mind's eye" resembles what the book describes.

  3. Tell stories about yourself.  If you are going to read a book about the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving, then have a discussion about a Thanksgiving you remember before you even start reading the book.  Allow time for one or two in the group (if there is a group) to share a story from a Thanksgiving they remember.

  4. You can use storytelling as a way to introduce the book you are going to read.  If the picture book is about a rabbit that misbehaves, tell a story about "There once was a little boy who loved getting into mischief"  This introduction could be about something your child did when he was younger but may not remember.

  5. Even as you read a story like The Three Little Pigs, you tell a story through the expressions on your face or by the tone of your voice. Teach your child(ren) how to express fear by the way you react when the first little pig loses his home.  Your actions and words can teach your child what bravery is when the three pigs stand up to the wolf.

  6. You children can tell a story, especially if they know the book well. Tell them you will read their favorite book but that they are going to change it up.  As you get to a familiar part ask them what could happen differently or how the character could be different.

  7. Many children have favorite books that they like to have read to them over and over.  Have a campfire some night and have them tell you the book instead of you reading the book to them.

    If you can't have a campfire outside have one inside.  HOW?  Sit in front of a burning fireplace.  If you don't have a fireplace then make a pretend campfire by bringing in logs.  Use red and yellow tissue paper to make fake fire under the logs.

Make sure that when you tell a story you include your family history. What better way for your children to learn family values and their heritage than by telling your story as you read them a story.

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