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January 11, 2012

Storytelling

There are a number of reasons why children enjoy listening to stories, not least because they are often exciting and transport children to any number of different worlds. Stories let us engage in things we are familiar with and things we have never experienced, and it is this mixture which makes stories so enjoyable for children. The humour which is often found in children's stories also makes listening to them a happy experience!

I think that, to tell a story well, it is essential not to be embarrassed by putting on silly voices or sounding really enthusiastic about a story you may have told ten or fifteen times before. Varying the pitch or dynamics of your voice add an extra element of excitement to the tale, and hints at which bits of the story are most interesting. If you are engaging fully with the ideas in the story then so will the children. As a book may not be in place, it is also important to feel able to act out some elements of the story - just a few simple actions which the children can join in with will add an extra element to the story.

For children, it is important to listen to stories so that they experience different narrative techniques, different situations nd most importantly a vast array of words. Children cannot be expeced to have a vast vocabulary if they do not experience one in their every day lives. It is important for them to tell stories themselves in order to engage their imaginations and get used to thinking creatively.

Ideas about storytellers from the videos:

Important to sound like the story has truth in it.

Plenty of detail, setting the scene clearly.

Engaging with the audience by referring to them.

Speeding up and slowing down your voice. Creates suspense and excitement.

Repetition for effect, to emphasise some componenets of the tale.

Eye contact with audience members to make them feel involved.

I think I preferred the Robin Hood story. This is partly beacuse it is a story that we are all familiar with, and partly because I felt the outdoors setting was very atmospheric. I didn't engage with the Grandad story as much, partly because the storyteller's eyes scared me! I felt in terms of the voices that the Grandad storyteller did a better job of creating characters, and yet the story about Robin Hood caught my attention more. I think that it was because that story held more suspense and danger, which made the storytelling experience more exciting.

Personal philosophy on reading:

This is quite hard to put into words! I've always been a great fan of reading, and I can't ever remember not having a book on the go - I sometimes have two or three going at once! I guess I would just try and communicate my love of reading tothe children and hope that my enthusiasm inspires them. I owe a lot to reading, not least a love of language. One of the main benefits of reading that is often overlooked is they way it increases your general knowledge. I certainly know a lot more about history, politics and other subjects that I've not studied than I would have if I hadn't read as much.


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