Process: Part II - Practice

So you've picked your story! YAY! Now it's time to learn to tell it.

NOTE! VERY IMPORTANT: Do NOT try to memorize your story. Instead, you want to learn the main points of action in the story. Know what happens first, second, third, etc and then last. You might want to memorize the first line or two and the last line or two of the story or if there's a line someone says in the story that's really important, you might want to memorize that, but don't try to memorize the whole story word for word.

(WHY??  If you just learn the main action points of your story, then you can modify or change the details to make it your own personal version, which will make it more fun  and easier to remember :). Also, if you don't learn it by just memorizing it, if /when you forget a detail while you're telling, you can just make up a bit of the story and keep going. No one will know you forgot!)

As you begin to practice and figure out how you want to tell your story, here are some suggested goals to keep in mind for your storytelling.

  • Tell the story without looking at any notes; do it from memory
  • Speak clearly, loudly enough, and slowly enough that your audience has no trouble understanding you and can fully enjoy your telling without straining to make out what you are saying.
  • If you use motions (see below for some ideas and examples), make sure they enhance or add to the story and aren't distracting.
  • Try using voices or accents to help people know which character is talking. (Just be careful not to overuse voices or use accents or voices that make it hard to understand you.)

Now, to help you accomplish those goals, it will help to watch other storytellers and see what does or does not work (plus it's fun!). Watch the videos on the Introduction page again, and check out some of the video links below to get ideas for how to tell your story. Notice how these storytellers use voices and motions to help tell their story more effectively. So, if you were doing "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," for Papa Bear, use a gruff voice, and for Baby Bear, use a teeny, tiny, high-pitched voice (see the video below)! Are there animals in your story - does it help as you tell your story to make that animal's sound? Can you tell where maybe a storyteller forgot part of their story but made something up or modified the story - you can do the same!

     Check out some of these storytellers:
  • Wide Mouth Frog told by Cullen Wood. Cullen tells stories for and works with preschoolers. Would your story work to entertain younger siblings or children you help take care of?
  • Gum Chewing Rattler told by Joe Hayes. What do you think? Was his story true?! Storytellers will sometimes put a story in first person saying "I did this or that" but it's just to tell the story ... do you think that's what Mr. Hayes is doing?

Also check out the YOUR Tips & Tricks blog for pointers from your peers!

Now with that in mind ... read your story over several times - out loud. You may want to go into your room or away from others to do this. Figure out where you want to add animal sounds and practice different voices and decide if there are any lines that you may want to memorize because it's important to say them the same way each time.

Next, to help you remember your story and the main points or plot, complete one or both of the following two activities:

        1) Outline your story in Microsoft Word or write out your story into Microsoft Word as you think  
             you want to tell it (if you are working out of a library book and can't write on the story, this is a
             good way to make your own copy). If you are a visual learner - you remember things better by
them - try this activity.
        2) Record yourself reading your story, then listen to it to help you learn it.  If you are an oral           
             learner - you remember things by hearing them - then try this activity.

Click on instructions for help completing these two activities.

Now - it's time to just try telling your story.  It's ok if you don't get it right the first time or forget a piece, just keeping going until you've gone the whole way through. Then just keep practicing. Tell your mother, tell your best friend, tell your dog, tell your baby brother or sister, and tell your goldfish!

Tell it in front of the mirror so you can see what you look like when you tell it!

Then ... once you've told it several times and you can say it the way you want straight all the way through, you're reading to present it! Click on Present when you're ready for the next step!