Process: Part I - Pick Your Story

The first part of the process for completing your task is very important because it sets the stage for the rest of your project. You need to pick the story you want to tell! There are many, many, many stories to choose from, so here are some tips and resources to help you pick the perfect story.

When picking your story, keep the following in mind!
Tip #1 - Find a story you LOVE. You're going to be spending a lot of time with this story, and if that one character in the story really annoys you now - oh boy will he annoy you after you have read and thought about and told this story over and over again!

Tip #2 - It may take a little while to find the perfect story - Persevere! You may need to read through several stories before you find just the right one! Don't get discouraged - you'll find a good one!

Tip#3 - Look for stories with repetition.  Especially for your first story, look for one that has a repeating element or a part of the story that's almost the same over and over but changes a little. For example: Goldilocks and the Three Bears - this story is about Goldilocks trying several different things in the Bear's house. Those things change, but the whole story is about her trying out things in the bears house - you only have to remember what she tries. Then, she always tries them in the same order - Papa Bear, Mama Bear, then Baby Bear. Another repeating or same element is that Papa Bear's items are always TOO HARD or TOO HOT, Mama Bear's items are always too cold or too soft, and Baby Bears items are always just right. These similar or repeating elements make the story easier to remember.

Tip #4 - If you've never told a story before, look for a short one. If this is your first time telling, maybe one under five minutes; definitely keep it to under ten minutes for this task. It could even take two or three minutes to tell. Start small - you'll have more fun if it's not too hard at first. Then next time you're waiting in line somewhere or waiting for your Mom to pick you up and she's running five minutes late, you'll have a neat way to help you and your friends pass the time.

Tip #5 - Check out the YOUR Tips & Tricks blog. Other storytelling kids can post to this blog with their advice and tips for storytelling, including how to pick a good story or recommended websites for finding good stories. (Once you complete this webquest, don't forget to add your two cents!)

Tip #6 - Look for fables, fairy tales, legends, and folktales - stories that used to be told orally or by storytelling instead of through books or the written word. Stories that were originally told by storytellers will be written down in a way that will make it easier for you to learn. See the resources below to help you find such stories.

Alright, with those things in mind - where does one start to look for a good story to tell!? You can find good stories in many, many places, but here are a few spots to try. Don't ignore the book suggestions below, too; they can be a great source!

  • Heather Forest has modified several folktales to make them easier to tell. You can find them at her Stories in a Nutshell Story Librarypage. Heather has done the same thing for some of Aesop's Fables. You can find 26, easy-to-tell fables at her Aesop ABC page, too. The fables make good very short stories. 
  • You can find the text and sometimes an illustrated or audio version of twelve stories that you might want to tell at the ipl2 For Kids Story Hour site.
  • For some longer stories, check out Aaron Shepard's Gift's of Story website. There you'll find a list of stories he's written with length, audience age, theme, etc information on several stories. Aaron Shepard also provides additional information and fun stuff under "Aaron's Extra's" for each story. You can often hear a recording of the Aaron himself reading the story and you'll find tips for telling the story!
  • Sur La Lune website. Written by a librarian named Heidi Ann Heiner, you'll find lots of information about various traditional fairy tales at this website! You'll find an actual copy you print on the website, a list of versions of that story in book form on the right side of the page, the history of that fairy tale, a list of other similar tales from other cultures, and much more! You can also find e-books listed by country of origin. For an explanation for students of what's on the site, check out the Guide for Students. site last updated July 2, 2007
  • An extensive site with numerous stories organized by content, region, and type, the American Folklore site provides a wealth of options for storytellers! You'll find lots of stories in this easy-to-browse site!


Visit the j398 section of your local library. There you'll find many fairy tales, fables, folktakes, and stories that used to be told orally but have been written down for you to read. Stories that were once shared by telling instead of reading are easier to tell.

Other specific books to check out of your library:
  • De las Casas, Dianne, and Philip Chow. Handmade Tales : Stories to Make and Take. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2008. This title provides instructions and inspiration for telling twenty-three different tales using a variety of props. There are string stories, draw and tell stories, cut and tell stories, paper tales, hand stories, and other handy tales using items like handkerchiefs or towels. 
  • Shannon, George. More True Lies: 18 Tales for You to Judge. New York: Harper Collins, 2001. A super-fun collection of very short stories to make you think. There's a piece of each story that appears to be a lie but is really true - can you find the "true lie"? Learn a story and try it out on a friend!
  • Hamilton, Martha and Mitch Weiss. Children Tell Stories: A Teaching Guide. New York: Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc., 1990. Although written for teachers or adults, this book has twenty-five, short ready to tell tales listed at the end! You will also find a list or bibliography of other stories that you can try to find at your library that are good for kids to tell, too!
  • Freeman, Judy. Once upon a time : using storytelling, creative drama, and reader's theater with children in grades preK-6. Westport, Conn., Libraries Unlimited, 2007. Judy Freeman recommends several tales to tell in this book, giving a short description of the tale in her list of recommendations. She also provides some fun short stories directly in the book you might want to try, too. I learned the Little Round Red House.
  • Sierra, Judy. Silly and Sillier: Read-Aloud Tales from Around the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.You'll find several fun, relatively short stories from all over the world in this book!
  • Also check for books by Valerie Marsh, an Indiana storyteller, for paper cutting or folding tales. She has Paper Cutting Stories from A to Z; Mystery Fold: Stories to Tell, Draw, and Fold; and others.

Click on OPAC Help for some tips for searching for an item in your library's online catalog.