For latest news, offers and much more, join our mailing list...
How to become a storyteller.
nce upon a time, in the year 2000, National Storytelling Week was conceived. Whether you use it to teach storytelling or to enjoy a great group activity, everyone can take away with them a new understanding of how hearing a story out loud can bring writing to life.
Whether you're telling a tale to a group of friends or your class at school, take a look at our top tips for storytelling and see which ones you can use to become a better storyteller.
Getting ready to read a story:
Choose a story that you enjoy. You'll have to read it a few times before reading it to a group, so pick something that you won't get sick of! You will also need to make sure that it is appropriate for, and appeals to, the whole class.
Practice makes perfect. Read the story, or section of story you're going to read a few times before the event. Good knowledge of the writing makes for a confident reading voice, and this will make the story flow well and the experience much more enjoyable.
Practice makes perfect... again! Read the story out loud on your own. It doesn't matter if you look daft, there's no one there to see you. Do you need to differentiate between the characters? Practice with whimsical voices, you don't need to do anything too over the top. Can you relate the characters to any that you are familiar with from films or TV? Try using their intonation and accents until you find something you're comfortable with using.
Remember, remember. If you can remember pieces throughout the story it will give you a great opportunity to make eye contact with pupils and make sure they're all still engaged.
Acting the part. Bring gestures into the reading. Children are very easily distracted, movement will help to keep their attention focused on you. Bring a hand up in a claw like pose and snarl if you're the big bad wolf for example. If you've decided you aren't good with voices this will also help them identify the specific characters in the text. Consistently use the same actions for each line of their speech and soon they will know before you even speak who is going to appear next. Also remember to use facial expressions, and everyone needs to see them so make them exaggerated, this will also add to the humour in telling the story.
Joining in. Look for bits in the story where they can join in. If Red Riding Hood skips through the forest to Granny's house, why not have them skip once round the classroom as you read that bit of the story. If there is a question in the text, is it one you can ask the children? Take a small break in the story and ask them, get a couple of responses and then continue. Sitting still and paying attention for a long time is not suited to all children, so this is a chance to get involved in something helps them to break up the time.
Pace yourself. Practice the speed of your reading. You might find yourself picking up the pace if you realise you're running out of time. Try to avoid this, you can always fit the rest of the story in another day. When you speed up you'll end up losing listeners who can't follow the story. Slowing down will help them to follow easily and they'll be able to understand more.
Ultimately a storytelling session will help them learn how to become a storyteller themselves. Why not, as a reward for something in class, let a group of children take a turn reading a story out to the class?
Poor Ellie is horrified when Tuffy drags a dead bird into the house. Then a mouse. But Tuffy can't understand what all the fuss is about. Who on earth will be the next victim to arrive through the cat-flap? Can soft-hearted Ellie manage to get her beloved pet to change his wild, wild ways before he ends up in even deeper trouble?
Like many children all over the world, a small boy dreams of winning the World Cup! But in the meantime, scoring the perfect, time-stopping goal would be just fine. And once you've done that, who knows what the future might hold?
Daisy does Not like peas. And there is Nothing that will get her to eat them. Mum says she can have an extra pudding, a chocolate factory or a space rocket with double retro laser blammers - but it just won't work! Can quick-thinking Daisy save her tea time and come up with a cunning plan to turn the tables on Mum?
This classic story of Sophie and her extraordinary tea-time guest has been loved by millions of children since it was first published over 30 years ago. Now a new generation will enjoy this beautiful reformatted edition!
Mildred Hubble is a trainee at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, but she's making an awful mess of it. She keeps getting her spells wrong and crashing her broomstick. And when she turns Ethel, the teacher's pet into her worst enemy, chaos ensues...
George and Harold have created the greatest superhero in the history of their school - and now they're about to bring him to life! MEET CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS! HIS TRUE IDENTITY IS SO SECRET, EVEN HE DOESN'T KNOW WHO HE IS! FIGHTING FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE AND ALL THINGS PRE-SHRUNK AND COTTONY!
The world really does come to visit George when his grandpa arrives, with a globe, to look after him and his sister for the day. Grandpa explains how everything from the cereal they eat for breakfast to the rubber in their bicycle tyres comes from plants all over the world.
Timothy Pope has a brand new telescope and he's testing it out at the park. Children will delight in peeping through the die-cut holes and guessing what Tim has spotted. Is that really a shark he can see? Turn the page and find out ...
Trevor's mum has offered him GBP30 to walk the dog every day of the holidays. But Streaker is no ordinary dog, she's a rocket on four legs with a woof attached. Trevor enlists the help of best friend Tina to keep Streaker under control - with some hilarious results.
I'm Tracy Beaker - have you heard of me? I'm stuck in The Dumping Ground just at the moment, but I'm sure my Mum will come and get me soon. A certain Justine-Hateful-Littlewood has stolen my best friend Louise but I don't let it get me down. I never cry. Ever. This is a story all about me.
When both of Eddie Dickens' parents catch a disease that makes them turn yellow, go a bit crinkly round the edges and smell of hot water bottles, it's agreed he should go and stay with relatives at their house Awful End.
Rumour has it Artemis Fowl is responsible for every major crime of the new century. Just twelve years old and already he's a criminal genius, plotting to restore his family's fortune with a spot of corruption and kidnapping. Kidnapping a fairy for ransom, to be precise.
Gloriously silly comedy from Booker prize winner and bestseller Roddy Doyle. If adults are mean to children, they get the Giggler Treatment. It's smelly. It's squishy. And it sticks to your shoe. But sometimes, just sometimes, the Gigglers make a mistake...
Two orphaned children are on the run, hiding among the crumbling canals and misty alleyways of the city. Befriended by a gang of street children and their mysterious leader, the Thief Lord, they shelter in an old, disused cinema. On their trail is a bungling detective, obsessed with disguises and the health of his pet tortoises.
When a small boy turns up on Bob and Joan's doorstep unable to say much except 'I was a rat', the kindly couple adopt him. It seems strange but Bob reads about odder things every day in his newspaper. To them, the sunny little chap is Roger, and he's trying hard to adapt to human life.
*Out of Print, new edition available*
The first instalment in the MORTAL ENGINES quartet, introducing young apprentice Tom Natsworthy and the murderous Hester Shaw, flung from the fast-moving city of London into heart-stopping adventures in the wastelands of the Great Hunting Ground. "My favourite contemporary children's author is Philip Reeve" - Charlie Higson