My first recollection of storytelling with my dad is on Elves and The Shoemaker. I knew the lines in the book and could recite them verbatim, but it was when my father dropped the book that the magic of the story really came to life for me. We hid under the blanket with a torch to stake out the elves that would be coming later. We would listen out for sounds and imagine what they were. Under that blanket, we created the most imaginative stories our mind could conjure. I like to think that this was when my love for stories first started.
As parents we know that reading is important for the child’s literacy development. Storytelling is the canvas in which the child can explore the stories beyond the confines of the pages.
When a child’s attention is captured by an oral story rich with details, he can visualize what’s happening, follow the rise and fall of the storyline and the sequence of events, and infer emotion from the storyteller’s intonation, facial expression and body language — all skills that are crucial to future independent reading comprehension. - (Mokhtar, Nor Hasni et al. 2011. “The Effectiveness of Storytelling in Enhancing Communicative Skills.”)
If you are new to Storytelling, these are some quick tips you can try out on your own to add some Oomph to your performance.
1. Use repetitive phrases that your child can chime in to feel like he or she is contributing to the story. For example: ‘Not on the hair of my chinny-chin-chin’ from The Three Little Pigs.
2. Keep it simple. You don’t need to be a master storyteller to start engaging your child. You just have got to…. start somewhere. The best place would be to start off with a story that you already know well. Each retelling offers yet another opportunity for children to delve deeper into the story and learn something new. Once you get the hang of it, you can let your child take lead in driving the story forward.
3. Stories don’t have to be new to be engaging. When you feel confident in your ability to accept the wacky and the impossible, you are ready to give an old story a new spin. Your child will probably find this exercise easier than you. Throw in some choose-your-own-adventure elements and watch the story get a new lease of life. For example: What if Little Red Riding Hood had to save the Woodcutter instead?