When learning how to tell a story to kids, it must deliver more than your basic beginning, middle, and end story line. A good story will provide an emotional connection where the child audience is transported to another world, whether it is similar to their own environment or a fantasy. The characters can be human, animals, or other.
How to Tell A Story
Stories should be fun, but should not be lengthy or lacking a specific direction. There are common rules to apply when learning how to tell a story well. Imagination, practice, and enthusiasm are the basic ingredients of learning how to tell a story. These following tools are the elements that make a fun story possible for an audience of children:
When listing tips for how to tell a story for kids, the environment is of prime importance. Stories told in a special setting such as by a fire when camping, or by candlelight indoors, will have a special ambiance that affects the audience’s perception as the story unfolds. The physical setting may add a sense of “something special is about to happen”.
Set the Stage
In preparation of telling a story, it is helpful to prime the audience for the appropriate mood such as comedy or fear. If the story is funny, some jokes beforehand would be suggested. If the story is scary, then it would be beneficial to steer the young audience towards light fear. This creates anticipation.
When deciding how to tell a story, it is necessary for the audience to be physically comfortable. For example, if it is cold outside, the audience should have blankets and/or a lit fire. Also, it is generally accepted that a good story told outside under the stars should be done in a circle with the speaker at the head. This bonds the group and focuses all eyes on the storyteller.
A good storyteller emphasizes his voice and exaggerates his movements. Different characters should have different voices and cadence. The story should be told without hesitation; it should flow naturally with rehearsed ease. A pause should indicate drama, not forgetfulness. Props are helpful for adding sound effects. By engaging the senses, the story seems to be “happening now” rather than information being relayed.
Good storytellers are lively and purposeful in their delivery. The person that delivers a story from beginning to end well has delivered an experience, an event.
Be The Story
Remaining in character is important. Despite the vocal enthusiasm from an audience, a good storyteller never wavers, or forgets he is leading this parade. A good speaker interacts without losing focus.
A good story should be enjoyable and thoroughly engaging. When the audience is riveted and involved from beginning to end, the storyteller has done his job.
Learning how to tell a good story will make the difference between talking about a tale and living it. Storytelling is performing. The following tips are very helpful in bringing stories to children:
As described, good storytelling is a performance. It involves skills and a formula to deliver the best results. To thrive while learning how to tell stories for children, these tips should be mastered:
- Know the story
- Make sure story is kid friendly and relatable
- Give and take, make sure audience can contribute during story
- Shake it up – add character quirks or sound effects
- Become the actors in the story – impersonate with voice and mannerisms
- Proper speed – speak slow enough to be heard, understood and keep good rhythm while moving steadily ahead
- Damage control: improvise when necessary – quicken the pace or alter details to hold interest if it wanes. Young children need short stories due to a shorter attention span. Older children may want more details to make the story more believable
A good storyteller should be fully prepared but also be able to wing it should the situation call for improvisation. A good storyteller can hone his skills to become great.
Becoming a Great Storyteller
Rarely is a storyteller wonderful right out of the gate. It is challenging to learn how to tell a story fantastically. Mastering the gift of transporting an audience takes practice and talent.
For children, entertainment often lies in the possibilities of suspended reality. In a pretend world, the rules that apply here on Earth may be different for these characters. They may have super powers or be in an upside down world. To deepen the experience, a child should be able to relate to the protagonist or the story, because he or she recognizes something that intrigues them.
Once emotionally attached, a great storyteller will move swiftly from beginning, to middle, to end with dramatic voice and movements.
Most stories have lessons that may be learned through its different characters and struggles. A character may overcome a misfortune to become a better version of himself or he may help another during the story with tools he has acquired or developed. There are a multitude of messages and lessons that can be provided to children through storytelling. The sky is the limit with entertaining children; their imaginations are primed for a short transport to another world.
The Magical World of Children
The world of a child is very different than that of an adult. The way they perceive their world is magical and often very optimistic as opposed to grown-ups. The storyteller has a unique opportunity to revel in the imagination and spirit of young people. Children absorb stories like butter on warm bread.
When told well, stories can impact a child permanently and become part of their own repertoire when they are with friends or finds themselves in the same position later in life. A good story may impart wisdom that a child takes with them and applies to his their long after the story session has ended.
Adults who learn how to tell a story can make a lasting impression on a group of young ones. They can take a boring evening and make it exciting and memorable with their performance. Children who wish to emulate this skill may find their calling in public speaking or writing. A good storyteller has the power to influence children while activating their imagination and satisfying their urge to have fun.
The Task of Storytelling
Storytelling is for those who know how to tell a story, love to perform and have a good memory. The best storytellers have a magic bag of tales they can dip into for various occasions. The job of entertaining children should be fun and easy. For those who work and live with children, telling stories may be commonplace.
Many parents, teachers and youth leaders know how to tell a story to kids. However, for everyone who is not a practiced storyteller, these tips and tools should prove beneficial to creating more excitement during sleepovers, camp-outs, and youth events.
With enthusiasm and energy, a good speaker understands the brilliance and innocence of a child’s mind and uses his or her power for good in the ways of persuasion.
Some groups, such as churches, schools and scouts use stories to build camaraderie and impress beliefs in a memorable style. Persuasive stories can urge children to behave well and treat people respectfully. Persuasive stories can mold character through moral lessons such as Aesop’s Fables, or build on specific teachings to promote strengths while honoring the hopeful nature of a child.