Storytelling

Good storytelling comes from within, but it is communicated to others by what takes place on the outside.

DID YOU KNOW       

The hardest type of storytelling is the 'LECTURE STYLE'.  However, it can be very effective if the following points are practised.

If you have experienced something funny or interesting and you relate it to a friend, you don't have to think about your expression or the tone of your voice.  It happens naturally because you were there.  It is your story and you experienced it.

Life is full of stories which we can all relate to in some way or another and these stories also can be retold very successfully.  The choice of story however is vital, if we want to communicate well.

·        Do you like the story yourself?

·        Is it relevant to the age of child? -

·        Does it communicate the point you are trying to get over?

You do not have to know the story word for word, but you must have a very good knowledge of it. Make it as much your story as possible.

After having read it to yourself, write an outline of your story in as few words as possible, not neglecting the important points you want to make.  Then, break it down again into point form and write each point onto a little card which can be concealed in the palm of your hand.

·        Practice into a tape recorder, then listen back to yourself.

·        Over dramatise the exciting points.

·        Raise and lower your voice for dramatic affect.

·        Criticise your presentation, then improve the weak points, telling your story into the recorder again.  Once confident with the vocal presentation,

·        Tell your story into a mirror.  Watch you own facial expression.  If you look bored, nervous, frustrated or uncertain to yourself, that is exactly how the children will see you.

Avoid using big descriptive words when telling a story to little ones.  Remember their limited vocabulary and the fact that they are concrete thinkers.  Allegory is difficult for them. Speak clearly, don't gabble or mumble as sometimes happens when we are nervous.  Take a couple of deep breaths before you begin and leave a bit of space between lines to allow each point to register clearly.

EYE CONTACT with your audience will help do two things for you:

    * It is a good control tool. When children know you are looking directly at them, they are less likely to look away from you.

    * Their expressions tell you whether you are getting through or not.

You must practice becoming your own audio visual.  If your story character is sad, you must show sadness on your own face.  If angry, your own expression both vocally as well as visually must show it.  Children will catch the mood from your body language.  Don't try to cover too many points in one story.

When confident about telling your story to yourself, tell it to someone else.  Or, set up your video recorder, if you have one and record yourself.  Then do a self analysis of your presentation later, or let someone else crit' you.

LOSING THEIR ATTENTION

Sometimes you may lose a child's attention momentarily.  This may happen for a number of reasons.

1. Your story may be boring, too long, or irrelevant.  2. They may not be able to hear you properly  3. They may have been distracted.

If this happens, make a point of telling your story straight to that child giving you most grief.  Demand eye contact and keep telling the story just to him/her until such time as they are with you again.  You can even bring the child into the story without getting mad or irritated, by saying something like…. "Now David, I'm sure you've had some things like this happen to you haven't you?.  You would know exactly what I'm talking about."

Sometimes, just walking casually up to the distracted child and placing your hand gently on his/her shoulder will be enough.

TEACHING AS YOU GO:  Teach as you tell the story.  Try not to wait until the end of the story to bring the application in, for it is at this point that you often lose the children.  "Oh, oh, here comes the God bit."

OTHER WAYS OF PRESENTING STORIES

1. Role Play

2. Serial story

3. Flanelgraph

4. Sketch & Tell

5. Flip charts

6. Stories with Drama

7. Puppets

8. Object Lessons

9. Overhead Projector

10. Music

11. Art

12. Audience Participation

13. Combination: Drama  Art  Music
 
REVIEW
After the story has been told, reviewing via quiz or games

APPLICATION
How is this story going to affect my life?  What have I learned?

OBJECT LESSONS
A story or activity which can be used to show us a spiritual truth.

Eg.  Put the lid on a bottle containing a lighted candle.  Within moments the air will be burned up and the flame will go out leaving a bottle full of smoke.

Application:  Pretend the candle represents happiness. So long as the light is left open to the air, it can be shared to give light to others.  But once the lid is placed selfishly on the bottle, so that it can be kept away from others, the happiness will eventually disappear – even for the person who owned it in the first place.  Selfishness, makes happiness go away.