Practical Sheet #2

Time Management

Storytelling is the art of captivating the listener. How can we use time to keep the listener motivated and attentive?


The Storyteller conveys knowledge, emotions, and experiences. Much of the culture of our countries has been transmitted through stories told and passed on from generation to generation. 

Each story, in addition to the content, has its pace and the ability to tell stories requires good time management with body language, voice, story content and audience knowledge 

The stories have three main moments, the introduction, the twists and turns of events,  and the outcome. In the introduction, the storyteller presents the characteristics of the characters and establishes a first contact with the listeners. In the introduction, the storyteller directs the listener to the story development and then to the crucial point. Before arriving to the crucial point, the narrator should pause briefly to help the listener reflect and want to hear the continuation of the story. You should also pause before introducing the outcome to arouse the listener’s curiosity about the end of the story.

Each story has the time necessary to transmit to the listener all the information that is part of it. Pauses are part of that time. They allow the listener not to be distracted and reflect a little on the story. They help create moments of reflection and arouse curiosity.

Before telling a story, the storyteller must know the story well and should also know the target audience because the time of concentration varies with age.

Average concentration time for children aged 5 to 10 years:

  • 5 years old – 10 to 25 minutes;
  • 6 years old – 12 to 30 minutes;
  • 7 years old – 14 to 35 minutes;
  • 8 years old – 16 to 40 minutes;
  • 9 years old – 18 to 45 minutes;
  • 10 years old – 20 to 50 minutes.


To properly manage time and capture the listener’s attention, the storyteller must: 

  • Identify the listening audience you will tell the story to;
  • Choose a story according to the age and time of concentration of the audience;
  • Identify the three main moments of the story: introduction, climax and outcome;
  • Practice telling the story;
  • Pause for some seconds, between the introduction and the climax and before presenting the end;
  • Take short breaks before introducing a new character or action using pauses to create certain atmosphere and rhythm;
  • During breaks, the storyteller must use body language to help create interest in the story.


🕰 Telling Known Stories

Ask the child to tell a story that he knows and likes to tell; 

The child must retell the same story on different days; 

The adult, without the child knowing, see the time it takes for the child to tell the story, on each different day; 

Help the child reflect on how he told the story on the first day and the following days. If he used the same words, the same sequence, if he took more or less time, he felt more or less confidence; 

Show the child the different timings. This knowledge allows the child to know if it takes more or less time as they gains more confidence and knows the story better, it takes less time to tell a story when you know it better and it is easier to control the timing.

🕰 Identify the three main moments of the story

Use the story chosen by the child and help them identify:

  • the moment when it presents the characteristics of the characters and establishes a first contact with the listeners;
  • the moment when the events take place and the listener wants to know more;
  • the timing of the outcome.

This identification must be performed orally. The child can also create a scheme or a cartoon. (See sheet Story Mapping for inspiration). 

🕰 Practice breaks

Silences are more difficult to achieve than sound. When we talk about counting, we associate it with sound, with our voice. Creating moments of silence is a task that can be difficult and take some time. How to train?

  • Help the child to be silent for 3 seconds, then 4 seconds and then 5 seconds;
  • Reflect on the duration of the silences. During the silence nothing happens but everything is fine;
  • Identify with the child the moments in history when they should take breaks;
  • Practice the story with the pauses indicated;
  • Reflect on the introduction of breaks.

A storyteller learns to tell stories by tellin stories. There are no rules for creating a storyteller or teaching a storyteller how to manage their time. The stories’ times are negotiated between the storyteller apprentice and the teacher, according to the type of story, the target audience, the personality of the storyteller and the feedback of the listeners. It is a process that can take a one hour or days. 

🕰 How to have storytellers in the classroom? 

Storytellers can bring traditional tales to school and help spread the oral tradition of your region. 

The storyteller can be the element that helps the teacher to motivate the class to learn to read and enjoy reading; motivate the class to read a storybook; helping colleagues to develop speaking skills; encourage colleagues to create puppets, shadow theaters and role plays.