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How to Tell a Story
Make your story felt!
Stories are wonderful tools for communication and learning. You don’t need to be a master story teller to create effective and enjoyable stories. A few simple tricks can help bring stories to life and make story telling a powerful, educational tool.
1) First of all make sure you are familiar with the story. The more familiar you are with the story the more comfortable you’ll be telling it.
2) Use pitch and vary your voice. If you want to indicate a different character alter your position, voice, facial expression.
2) Adapt the story to suit the kids. Don’t feel like you have to be tied to any one version. It’s perfectly ok to change words or even large parts of the story. This is especially important when using stories with EFL learners. If there is a word you feel is too difficult or confusing just change it or leave it out. Sometimes I completely ignore the original story and make up my own simplified version.
3) Play with the story. Use the felt to play around with the story. Try having the kids retell the story in the original order and then in a different order of their own liking.
4) Make deliberate mistakes as you tell the stories. Once the kids are reasonably familiar with a story you can ‘test’ them by introducing errors. Put the felt pieces on upside down, or wrongly identify characters, for example tell them “Old Mac Donald had a cow” as you place a rabbit on the board. The kids will love to catch you out.
5) Make it interactive. By using Q and A you can involve children in the story and also check their comprehension at the same time. The questions don’t need to be difficult. ‘Asking what do you think is going to happen next?’ might be too challenging for a 4 year old just beginning to learn English. what color is the duck? How many bears? Let’s count the bears. One, two, three . How may? Three ,yes.
If you don’t already have the book form of the story consider buying it. Children learn through repetition, they love hearing stories again and again but this experience is enhanced when you add variation.
I often use the book to introduce a story, then in the next lesson I’ll re-tell it with the felt resource. Next I’ll have the children place the figures on the board as I tell the story again. I’ll follow this up with a game or activity using the felt figures. This means you are providing essential repetition but at each time it is fresh and new.