If you’ve ever had trouble settling kids to sleep at night, or simply wanted to entertain kids without an iPad/phone (for a change!) then it’s the perfect time to try oral storytelling!
Storytelling is a special way of sharing ideas, language, and stories with children. Whether we are young or old, stories connect us and add meaning to our lives in the most beautiful way, while also improving listening skills, vocabulary, grammar, understanding of stories/narratives and much more.
A new book by Melbourne grandmother, children’s author and storyteller, Judy Hubbard – The Storyteller’s Kit Box: how to create and tell spellbinding stories to children - offers compelling educational arguments for reviving the ancient art of storytelling.
According to Judy and educators too, oral stories develop young imaginations, problem solving, encourage listening skills, build language and strengthen relationships between parents, grandparents and their children. And create wonderful memories across the generations.
In The Storyteller’s Kit Box, Judy outlines an easy storytelling formula around character, plot, setting and great endings, and provides over 50 story themes to get any novice storyteller off and running.
“Storytelling isn’t rocket science … it’s in our DNA and anyone can do it,” Judy says.
“The best part is that it only takes 10 minutes – everyone’s got 10 minutes, and it’s so much fun for storyteller and listener. It’s also great for calming revved up/overtired kids before bed."
“The more stories you tell, the better your stories become", Judy says.”
She recommends starting a story by inviting suggestions from your child, so that the story is tailored to their age, stage and interests. Who is our story about? What colour is that unicorn? Where is the story happening?
Judy also suggests adding drama and atmosphere by using storytelling tricks of the trade like mimicry, voice volume, actions, body language and facial expressions, repetition, rhymes and that old favourite - onomatopoeia. Brmm Brmm! Shhhhhhh!
Her chapter on getting children to sleep using storytelling discusses a suite of simple techniques to practise at home: setting the scene, rituals, rhythm and repetition, long lists, using voice speed and volume, and slow soft singing.