How to Engage Readers with Storytelling

It can be tough engaging children with anything nowadays. With the abundance of technology and other distractions, reading isn’t high on their agenda. March 20th marks World Storytelling Day and i thought what better excuse to reignite children’s enthusiasm for reading, than sharing a good story?

Enjoyed globally every year on the March equinox to celebrate the art of oral storytelling. On World Storytelling Day, as many people as possible tell and listen to stories in as many languages and at as many places as possible, during the same day and night. So what exactly makes an excellent storyteller? And how can we replicate this in the classroom and at home?

Where does storytelling come from?

The first storytellers were undoubtedly cavemen and women. Telling stories around the campfire was a way of communicating, sharing news, teaching lessons and keeping history alive. In fact, storytelling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment known to humankind.

As children, we love being read to. It’s a time when we can cuddle up close to a parent or carer, relax and let our imaginations run wild.

What is it that makes some storytellers more engaging than others?

Storytellers have the power to transport us to other worlds, make us laugh and cry, and teach us important lessons. When done well, storytelling can be an incredibly engaging way to communicate, especially when reading in class together. In fact, many of the world’s most famous stories have been passed down orally for generations before being written down.

So what is it about storytelling that makes it so fascinating? There are a few key elements that make a great storyteller:

  • Engaging story: The story should be interesting and hold the listener’s attention. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should be well-told with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Good delivery: The story should be delivered in an engaging way, with enthusiasm and expression. A storyteller should use their voice and body language to bring the story to life.
  • Timing: A story should be paced well, neither too slow nor too fast, but the overall story should be well-paced.
  • Make eye contact: Look into your child’s eyes while you’re reading. It will help them feel involved in the story.
  • Use different voices: This will bring the story to life and help your child understand what’s happening.
  • Get physical: Use facial expressions and gestures to really bring the story alive.
  • Pause for effect: Pausing at key moments will heighten the suspense and keep your child guessing what’s going to happen next.
  • Encourage participation: Ask your child questions about the story and get them to join in with the characters’ dialogue.

By following these simple tips, you can make story time more enjoyable for both you and your child. And who knows, you might even find yourself becoming a bit of a storyteller yourself!

So, next time you’ve got a child ready and waiting for a breath-taking story, remember to try some of these tips and see how they work for you. And don’t forget, the most important thing is to have fun!

For help with curating that perfect bookshelf for all your reading aloud fun, take a look at these free resources.

Happy World Storytelling Day!

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