The Art of Storytelling

March 8th, 2009 by Ann

Nova (Ali's daughter) asleep with Gus-Gus after storytime

Nova (Ali's daughter) asleep with Gus-Gus after storytime

Don’t forget the magic in a came-from-your-own-heart, straight-out-of- your-imagination, in-your-own-words story. The “Mommy (or Daddy), tell me a story” kind of story. It’s a completely different experience from reading a book to your child and I heartily recommend it!

Some of our family’s closest times together revolved around that kind of thing. There was a stately old beat-up chair in toddler Elizabeth’s room that she named “The Story Chair,” for it was where she sat every single night while I told her the animal-filled, gentleness-infused original tale of Whoopie the Whale. (The story was really lame, but she absolutely insisted on it at both naptime and bedtime.) And then there was Evan, whose taste in stories I never quite got a handle on until I learned to routinely ask him to tell me three things he wanted his story to be about that night. (His answer was generally along the lines of “a boy, a policeman and a robot” or “a snake, a bomb and a boy.”) Within about ten minutes, I’d told him his made-to-order story, he’d drifted off and I was left in the quiet of the night to caress his back, run my hand through his hair and be full of wonder at the lessons he was teaching me, my heart welling over with love for this tired little boy.

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3 Responses to “The Art of Storytelling”

  1. Janet Says:

    Hi all, It’s Janet from Chinaberry here.

    I so agree with you, Ann, about the magic of “in-your-own-words” stories. When my oldest daughter started elementary school, we started a fun storytelling ritual. Each day, my daughter could choose one stuffed animal to accompany us during the ride to school. When I picked her up, I would tell her all about the adventures had by that particular animal. Because she seemed to thrive on high drama (some things never change — ha!), she loved hearing about all the mischief the animals got themselves into. (It was all very “Curious George” like.)

    It’s not like you have to be a professional script writer to do this. There were days when I’d feel like my story of the day was beyond lame, but they never failed to delight my girl. The stories basically all followed the same format. They’d start out with me saying, “You’ll never guess what Margaret (or whichever stuffed animal was with us) did today!” Then I’d tell her about all the outrageous trouble she got herself into while I was grocery shopping or whatever, and how embarrassed I was and how shocked others were, etc., but then how I resolved it. (Yes, I was always the hero in my stories back then — smile.) Looking back on it, those little adventure stories helped us both to unwind after our busy days, and they prompted a lot of interesting conversations!

  2. Stephanie O Says:

    I never thought I could tell stories, but my two year old is so obsessed with Curious George that I started telling “Curious George comes to our house” stories. Nothing very complicated - I just decide what they’re going to play with, or if they’re going to go to the zoo or park or fly a kite or whatever.

    If you’re intimidated by making up a story, I highly recommend this sort of “fan fiction.” :) Asking your child what should be in the story is a great idea, too - I’ll have to branch out!

  3. Loretta Haynes Says:

    Hello this is my first time going into your website and I thought I would try it. I am a parent and a grandmother of four. All of my children are adults but I have been a preschool teacher for a very long time and this is where I found my passion of storytelling. I am a creative storyteller and most of my children that I have taught have learned to read and use their imagination from my storytelling.

    I use songs, instruments, books and imagination to bring the story alive. I have told stories in libraries and where ever I can. I just want to promote myself in the art of storytelling. I would welcome any suggestions.

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