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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Story Time/Big Day for Mrs. Carpenter



I had a very big day today. One of the things I’ve always wanted to be able to do is to just relax and TELL a story. Now, I can read the heck out of a book—funny voices, the whole bit. But I’ve never been able to put that book (my prop) down, look the kids in the eyes, and just tell a story.

Our current theme really brought this storytelling angst to a head. Why was I only just reading Appalachian folk tales? Isn’t the whole point of folk tales the fact that they are part of an oral tradition of passing down stories from one generation to the next?

Well, today, I did it. I picked an easy (albeit rather long), repetitive, funny folktale from Appalachia called Cheese and Crackers. I took a deep breath, looked every child right smack in the eye, and told it. The kids laughed in the appropriate places, chimed in during the repetitive parts, and gave long and genuine applause after.

According to Tell It Again!,

Storytelling is a powerful medium. A well-told story can inspire action, foster cultural appreciation, expand children’s knowledge, or provide sheer enjoyment. When children listen to stories, they use their imagination...Because children are more involved in creating the pictures of the story, they are more likely to remember the characters, the sequence and the moral of the story.

Now, telling stories may come very naturally to many of you. But if it doesn’t, here is what helped me. I practiced a lot – poor Ray. I found a good story with a lot of repeating bits. I made note cards (but didn’t need to use them – it just helped to know they were there). I admitted to the kids that it was scary for me. I relaxed, enjoyed myself, and just did it!

How about it, parents? How about telling a tall tale from your childhood or culture tonight?

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