Leading a Literate Life

becoming a storyteller

Leading a Literate Life

Why Be a Storyteller?

To Teach Morals, Values and Empathy

The art of storytelling is one of the oldest educational tools known to humankind.

Increase Literacy for Children

The Report of the Commission on Reading states: The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.

For Family History

Genealogy is more than just who, dates and names, there are stories, a lifetime of stories, behind every entry.

If you can’t get your family’s stories, make sure your own stories are not forgotten. Journal them.(or scrapbook them;))

Improve Communication Skills

Feel comfortable when you are teaching, talking or presenting. The same principles apply for storytelling as they do for public speaking & teaching.


What is there to Tell?

Picture books

- local library lists

- use a story to start out a lesson, use to illustrate your theme or subject. -Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, plant a garden

Short & long stories

- chapter a night

Bible & Religious

- We all have our favorites.

Wordless books

-these are perfect for letting you imagination take flight. Tuesday by David Wiesner

Informational books

-explore your world, open a child’s eyes - use as story starters, someday I should tell you my Cooking Frog Legs story

Family History

- great for inspiring a sense of self and how you fit in your family

Personal Stories

the day you were born...

the day I met your father/mother...

do you remember the time...

....now that is why we celebrate...

...and that is why this is one of my favorite stories

* Jot down your ideas as you get them. Then set aside time to re-learn your story, pre-read or just prepare.


To Whom do you tell your Stories?

Keep your audience in mind


-finger and activity stories Here is the Hive

-Personal stories ...when I was a baby like you...

Elementary age-read alouds and family stories. ..you remind me of your uncle...


-‘jump’ tales Do you know what I can do with my long bony fingers and my red red mouth?

-thinking tales



-anecdotal, historical, thoughtful, hilarious


Really - if you love it, that will show through.


So Where & When can you Tell?

In the car

-Tick tock, tick tock goes my daddy’s big clock

-collect songs and rhymes, it really cuts down on the ‘car seat’ struggles

In the Dr.’s Office / anywhere you know there will be a wait

-Slowly, slowly very slowly creeps the garden snail...

-carry your current read aloud with you

Go to a park with a stream or wooded area, take a blanket

- read aloud from Tuck Everlasting

Outside playing with the kids

-Draw & Tell stories - Cut & Tell / Draw & Tell

Storytime is not just for bedtime

although...remember RIBIT (read in bed it’s terrific) - Great Big Green Monster

(Overcome fears - teaching)

Anywhere & Everywhere!

Take every opportunity, every moment, HAVE FUN!


Now, you know why, what, to whom, where and when ... now...HOW?


Your body is communicating as much as, if not more than, your words.

Make sure your body is talking the same language you are.

Use eye contact, relaxed (not stiff or sloppy) stance, facial expressions and VOICE

Listen to your voice. Relax, avoid strain, watch your pitch levels

Breathe, relax some more! (Uhm, yeah, - — ignore my surreptitious look under arms for sweat stains!)

Read Aloud

1-Read slowly - listeners need time to process

2-Read with expression - pause at commas and periods. Long pauses create suspense

3-Try voices and sounds - This isn’t for everyone, but hearing an adult talk like a horse is guaranteed to make a child smile and engage them more deeply in the story MouthSounds CD

4-Use props - Caps for sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, pile caps on head.

5-Incorporate songs or puppets - act it out, extend the enjoyment.

6-Take breaks - pause to answer questions, don’t feel you have to finish every book you begin. Go with the flow. Never turn a reading session into a chore, for you or the kids.

7-Let the kids participate - turning pages, supplying sounds or missing words for familiar stories. Ask the kids what comes next.

8-Reread - don’t hesitate to repeat, it’s an important part of learning and processing information and feelings

9-Get it on tape - have far-away family record stories on tapes.



Try story extenders, story stretchers

Go somewhere inspired by your reading, make the stories come alive

Set a good example, let the kids see you reading as often as possible.

How do you make the scriptures come alive? Get out maps, bigger the better. Know the story, tell the story, experience the story. If you love it, the kids will pick up on your feelings and love it too.


Toddler with a favorite book, "one has to keep in mind that as much as anything else, the child is looking for attention, he wants his body cuddled as much as his mind." -Jim Trealease, Read-Aloud Handbook

"It’s not the material but the delivery system!" -Andrew Clements


Journal It

Storytelling shouldn’t be all verbal.

Document family stories

, history, culture, sayings, jokes, happenings, special ways of doing things and traditions.

Scrapbooks! My Journal IS my scrapbook. Pacifier Fairy

Write it like you are relating it to your best friend

. What happened today that was spectacular, amazing, funny, profound or what happened to try your patience to it’s limits?

*If you can’t think of anything, just write down the date and everything you find in your purse, your fridge, your bookbag, or whatever. It makes some very interesting reading 5-10 years down the road.

*Don’t have family genealogy stories to hand down? It’s got to start somewhere, record your own. Do a Journal jar

Do a Google search "journal jar ideas"


 Tell it in another way: Storytelling Quilts

-Make a quilt of scraps from your life

-Make quilt squares that represent stories

Flannel Boards

-Get the kids involved, make your favorite stories into a flannel board:

Eggbert the Slightly Cracked Egg by Tom Ross

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw

Go Away Big Green Monster by Edward Emberley

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed  Pie by Alison Jackson

Cook it

-When I was sick, Grandma would make me...

-My favorite thing to eat is...

-Thunder cake by Patricia Polacco


In Conclusion:

There is almost nothing you can do to better educate your children, filling them with a sense of their worth, fill yourself with satisfaction and just have fun