Practical Sheet

Preparation of the storytelling session

SHEET #1

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

The storytelling with its infinite pedagogical values is the mean by which the teacher can ideally create a suitable place in the classroom where children “leave” the school environment and enter the time of the story… 

The oral story takes on the value of inclusive activity, further emphasizing the playful aspect of the experience that each child has with the narrated story. The movements and expressions of the narrator’s body will be transformed with the storytelling, following the moods and feelings of the various characters, involving the children who will not only listen but will participate emotionally amplifying the result.  

The storytelling session, however, must not be left only to improvisation but needs a preparation. Here are some tips to help you organize a storytelling session where everyone, adults and children, will feel as comfortable as possible to speak.  

BEFORE THE STORYTELLING SESSION:

  1. Communicate “the event” of storytelling session to the children. Plan and schedule it in a fixed cadence within the didactic programme so that children always know in advance and can look forward to that moment with joy.
  2. Set up a “dedicated space” for the activity of storytelling. Make it more welcoming and involving by using carpets and pillows, so that children can sit comfortably on the floor. Or, if this is not possible, the arrangement of the tables and chairs can be temporarily changed in order to create a more welcoming and “different” place from the “classroom” context.
    Arrange the children sitting in a circle.
  3. Lower the lights (when it is possible) to create a more cosy atmosphere, an atmosphere that favors imagination.
  4. Choose appropriate story: according to the age and the number of present children. The story must be useful for pupils for it’s linguistic elements and the topics it deals with.
  5. Prepare the story not only memorizing a trama but also focusing on the emotions and the images that you want to evoque in the children. Every tale has a voice. The storyteller must find that voice and give it body, make all emotions come alive by transforming them into a place where children can live and above all interact.
  6. Establish the necessary time to devote to the various moments: presentation of the characters, description of the environment and the context where the story is set. A kind of preview of the story, so as to help children in understanding. (educational sheet)
  7. Think about some gestures to use during the storytelling. (educational sheet)
  8. Study and prepare the objects or props if you plan to use. (educational sheet)
  9. Think about the use of different tones in your voice: higher and lower, louder and softer. Practice voice modulation exercises.
  10. Think about the length of the storytelling session, taking into account that:
    • A fundamental element in oral narration is the dilation of time, which plays a fundamental role for all children. It must be a “relaxed” time, dedicated to words, sound, harmony of words underlined by gestures and emphasized where necessary by the use of silhouettes, puppets or other tools deemed useful to the storytelling.
    • The story has to be told many times by the teacher to the children, but also by the children to other children. This will allow pupils to appropriate the story and develop self – confidence.
  11. Think about the structure of the storytelling session:
    • you can start the session with a riddle (it’s interactive, it’s fun!);
    • continue with a story;
    • then you can propose something more participative: a song, a finger story or a tongue twister;
    • then tell another story;
    • then it’s up to the children to tell;
    • you can tell 2 or more stories (depending on the length of the stories).
    • It’s important that there must be a mix of new stories and already known ones. The kids will assimilate the stories sessions after sessions and become able to tell them by themselves. They gain fluency and confidence.

The teacher is not a professional of storytelling but can do of course a great job!