Become a Great Storyteller: Tips for Preschool Teachers

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Exploring Curriculum

There are a number of interesting ways you can explore a storytelling curriculum for preschoolers. By varying the ways you share stories you can keep the magic of storytelling alive and exciting while extending vocabulary, listening ability, memory recall and discussion skills.

Children love listening to books but there is an art to gaining and keeping children’s attention during a book. Some tips to remember or try are:

  1. Pre read the book to ensure you know the basic idea of the story before you start.
  2. Start a ritual that children recognize as story time. It could be ringing some chimes or as simple as a short song to signal its story time.
  3. Have a defined area for children to sit such as a mat, a blanket or soft cushions. Children like to know where their physical boundaries are.
  4. Discuss the cover with the children. What can we see? What might the book be about? Who is the author and illustrator? The length of this discussion will depend on the age of the children and discussion skills.
  5. Use a loud clear voice and adopt different voices and tones to portray different characters and feelings.
  6. Pause throughout the story to add a comment or allow children to comment and predict. Keep it simple to start with such as “Oh I can see Tom feels really sad, see his sad face”, add more complex questions if children can cope with discussion during the story, “What do you think made him feel sad”.
  7. After the story allow children to comment on what they liked, what happened, to make alternate endings and to recall the story progression. The possibilities are endless.

Storytelling is about language, listening and for enjoyment. By being engaged in a range of stories children learn how to tell their own story. They learn that there is a beginning, a purpose and an end. We have all heard a young person tell a story that goes something like “A frog fell over but the cat meowed”. Stories teach logical sequencing when sharing their own stories. You can encourage children to practice storytelling by placing props and books in an area for children to play with and explore further. You can also help children tell their own non-fiction stories by sharing news. By asking the right questions you can encourage children to expand on their stories to include a beginning, a plot and an end.

Alternate ways to share a story

  1. Include props such as a special hat or bag that is featured in the story.
  2. Use finger or large puppets to retell classic familiar stories.
  3. Tell a story using a felt board.
  4. Have children act out a favorite story by becoming the characters.

By including a variety of ways to tell stories you can add a whole new dramatic approach to a storytelling curriculum for preschoolers. Enjoy this time revisiting your favorite childhood stories and discovering a love for new stories.