Please welcome author, literacy advocate, blogger, and dog lover, Susan Day, to Frog on a Blog. On her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, Susan has made it her mission to help grandparents create lasting memories by showing them how to share the wonders of reading with their grandchildren.
Today, Susan stopped by to share tips on making storytime an extra special time for both reader and listener.
5 Ways to Make Storytime the Best Time Ever
by Susan Day
Have you ever been riveted to your chair by a powerful storyteller? One who weaves such a magical and inspiring tale you simply can’t move until it’s over?
A good storyteller can hold the breath of each listener in their hands, and mesmerize them with every word.
Storytelling is certainly an art form that takes many hours of practice, but just about anybody can quickly gain the right skills to have children or grandchildren hurrying to bed each night in eager anticipation of their next bedtime story.
Here are some pointers to help you –
Your voice is your most important tool when it comes to storytelling. We each have a unique voice which adds to the charm of any story we tell.
But, why not give each character its own voice. The more exaggerated you are the more fun it will be. This is further enhanced when you give a large, heavy animal like a hippopotamus or an elephant a high, squeaky voice.
As well, who said all mice have to sound meek and small? What about a mouse with a deep voice that is gruff and coarse?
You might be great at accents too. Delight your children with a long southern drawl or a sharp Cockney accent each time you read.
Changing the volume of your voice to reflect the plot is another wonderful way to keep children engaged in the story. When the heroes enter the dark, mysterious cavern, drop your voice to a whisper. When they are at the fairground, shout the words out loud! (You know how noisy fairgrounds can be!)
Try to match the speed at which you read to the action in the plot. Try doing this with the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill to get some practice.
Read in a measured, deep voice which imitates someone slowly walking up a steep hill: “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.”
Now in a quick voice imitating someone falling down a hill: “Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after.”
This will make the whole story so much more engaging and fun. Your children will love to hear how the actions of the characters are reflected in the way you read the story.
Hand gestures and facial expressions
Hand gestures may be difficult if you are holding the book, but don’t let that stop you from employing them. As with facial gestures, you can add so much more to story time by mimicking the reactions of the characters.
Remember the Big Bad Wolf in the Three Little Pigs story? He put a lot of effort into blowing those houses down. Imagine how much fun the story would sound if you ran out of breath and became tired as you ‘huffed and puffed’?
What kind of face would Little Miss Muffet have pulled when she ate her curds and whey? Yikes! Who eats curds and whey today?
One of the keys to success for all storytellers is in the element of surprise. Using your voice, hand and facial gestures will keep your young audience enthralled with every turn of the page. Let’s face it, the key to good storytelling is not in the story, but in the telling!
About the author – Susan Day
Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents, parents and teachers to support them in helping children become better readers. As well, Susan has created a guide to help grandparents build a more meaningful relationship with their grandchildren through their love and passion for books.
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves coffee, painting and learning to box.
My thanks to Susan for featuring Frog on a Blog on her site, Astro’s Adventures Book Club!