Helpful tips on learning to write and tell stories
- Grades: 3–5
Storytelling is play. When we play with dolls, we pretend to walk, and talk, and act, like the figures in our hands. We might be telling a story about soldiers fighting, or we might be having a tea party, or, perhaps, we are going on adventures to faraway times and places. We don't need to have a beginning, middle, and end to our story. The fun of playing by ourselves is in making sounds and gestures, in putting ourselves inside the characters' thoughts and feelings.
When we tell a story, however, our play must include the audience/listener. So we do follow the outline of beginning, middle, and end. We fill in details of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. We paint the picture of the setting, time, and feelings of the story with descriptive words. We let the words of the story affect our voices and bodies so that our voices and gestures begin to seem as if we were in the middle of the story, as if we were there. We become all the characters, and the audience/listener delights in watching us play with words.
To tell a story is to be in the story with our own personal way of playing. Don't try to duplicate some other person's way of doing voices or movements. Some storytellers stand very still, and some of us are very animated. Some of us use funny voices, and some of us speak simply as ourselves. Everyone must start as who they are and let the action and the description of the story inspire us to play. There is no right or wrong way to tell a story except to be ourselves, relax, and have fun with the pleasure of sharing a story.