When I was a little girl, my dad loved to tell me stories before bed. These weren’t just any stories. They were always full of imagination and silly voices. I never knew exactly where he was going with each story, but I could usually depend on there being a purple polka-dotted dragon involved.
All these years later and I still remember how much I loved those stories. I couldn’t tell you very many details from the stories, but I can recall the excitement I felt and the laughter they induced. Have you ever heard a story like that?
Have you ever, like my dad, told a story that had your listeners engaged and fascinated and wanting to hear more?
That is storytelling.
Storytelling is the art of bringing a story to life in a memorable and entertaining way.
One of the best methods of introducing young learners to the power of storytelling is through beautiful, living books. Stories that enrapture their imaginations and take our children on adventures though history, fantasy, emotions, and life are the introduction to a tool without which we might have lost the history of humanity.
As we explore the importance of storytelling, story elements, and how to teach storytelling techniques to your own children, I invite you to dive into these lovely titles we used to create this storytelling guide for you!
Disclosure: I received these titles from Candlewick Press and was compensated for my time. I was not required to post a positive review. As always, we only recommend resources we use and love and think you will benefit from, too.
- What’s so Special about Shakespeare?
- What’s so Special about Dickens?
- Voices from the Second World War
- Snowboy and the Last Tree Standing
- The Things that I Love About Trees
The Importance of Storytelling in Teaching
The content of the stories my dad told me wasn’t important. What mattered was the time we spent together and the way these stories brought us closer together. Sometimes that is the most important reason for storytelling.
Sometimes, however, the content of the story is very important. Without storytelling, most of our history would have been lost to the past.
Drawn from many historical documents, Siege has captivated my 8year-old American Revolution-loving child’s heart and mind. The story has become a part of him because of the masterful telling. When he retells it through narration, it is simply remarkable.
He has picked up on the nuances of phrasing, how a pause can completely change a sentence, and how descriptions can either make you a part of the story or make it obscure. He will never forget the history contained in these pages.
Teaching children how to tell stories with verse really stretches their understanding and usage of language. It also provides a way for them to be creative if they aren’t ready for the standard narrative essay form of writing.
Everyone has a story to tell. Some of our children could be the great storytellers of their own time. In Voices from the Second World War, real life experiences have been brought to life through interviews conducted by children. The interviews were made into narrative pieces and this model of storytelling is one that every age child can duplicate.
Some of these stories are not for young learners. The recommended age range is 10 and up, but Mr. T has great comprehension and did just fine. He also has a love of hero tales where the good guy comes out ahead and there are many of those in this extraordinary book.
Here are several reasons why storytelling is important:
- Storytelling helps us relate to each other. It gives us the opportunity to feel and experience life from someone else’s point of view.
- Storytelling encourages imagination. Whether you’re listening to a story being told or telling one yourself, you’ll be using your imagination. And a lot of it!
- Storytelling teaches us morals. Through stories we can learn about kindness, forgiveness, love, friendship, and so much more.
- Storytelling teaches us history. From those paintings on that cave wall to the game you played this morning, stories tell us about our past.
- Storytelling helps shape our future. Dream up a story about the future, and you could be a part of shaping it!
- Storytelling is entertainment. It’s even better than TV in my opinion!
- Storytelling educates. Even facts that might usually be a little boring can become interesting and fun through a well told story.
- Storytelling brings us together. Through storytelling, you’re sharing a little bit of yourself with someone else, opening up the opportunity for a deeper and lasting relationship.
Kindergarten storytelling actives are a fun way to introduce storytelling. Using picture books, children can grasp how the illustrations can move the story along and often are very willing to create their own “picture story”. That is precisely what Mr. F is doing here with The Things I LOVE about TREES.
Oral storytelling for kindergarten using living books is just simplified narration. It’s a fun time to practice reciting with emotion and articulation.
The 5 Elements of Story
The elements of a story are the basic parts that make up the story. To tell a good story, you’ll want to make sure you cover this list of story elements:
- Characters: these are the people, animals, or purple polka-dotted dragons in the story.
- Setting: this is where and when the story takes place.
- Problem: this is the situation that the character is facing.
- Solution: this is how your character solves the problem.
- Theme: this is the key idea that runs through the whole story. It will often teach a lesson.
These elements have held true for all the great stories we know and love. Learning how history affected writers and influenced their work is a valuable part of learning the art of storytelling. It helps young tellers to incorporate their own time into their stories.
What’s so special about Shakespeare? and What’s so special about Dickens? are fantastic explorations into how history plays into fictional tales and the lives of the authors who wrote them. It did take some time to get through these with Mr. T but he really enjoyed the cartoon illustrations and absorbed the history like a sponge.
We have thoroughly enjoyed learning about Storytelling through some remarkable books! Check out our Storytelling: The Magic Formula for Captivating Tales packet.