Sharing Stories with Young People

Phyl Campbell By Phyl Campbell, 29th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1b6vuont/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Speech

It can be difficult sharing your stories with small children. They wiggle, they giggle, and sometimes they talk out of turn. Here are some tips for story time with the younger crowd, whether you are sharing your story or someone else's.

Know Your Material

If you are reading your own work, be prepared. Most of the time, you don't have to read a story word for word, but you should know the story well enough that your eyes spend more time on your audience than on the page. If you are reading a well known story, each word may be more important, and you may want to memorize it. Either way, connect with your young audience. You may be sharing a story, but they are engaging with YOU.

Add Props

Be prepared with props and tools to keep young people engaged. When I spoke to groups of kindergarteners at an elementary school last week, I knew I wanted to share my latest story, Martha's Chickens and the Pirates, with them. The story's a little longer than I would normally share with such young people, but it's a good story and I knew I could adapt it if necessary. One of those adaptations came in the form of getting characters from a freeware education website, and printing off enough so that every child in the class could have one (this meant I had multiple Marthas, pigs, cows, chickens, and pirates for each class). Then, I laminated them. With the teacher's help, I arranged the Kindergarteners into a wide circle, then passed out the characters. When I was reading, and I named a character, the child who held that character held it up. The children were eager to listen because they wanted to show their character. In that way, we all stayed engaged with the story.

When the event was over, I put the characters into baggies that each class could keep and reuse at centers, along with a copy of my story. The photos for each section are a sample of the art I used. I place the character on front back, then laminated. For the pirates and pirate captain, I put a boy on one side and a girl on the other. The girl pirates were MUCH harder to find than boy pirates. But it was worth it. I talked to the children about Martha being my grandmother and me being the picky pirate . They really laughed at the idea of me being a pirate -- and about an adult willing to admit she is a picky eater. Poking fun at myself was just another way to keep the students engaged.

It's About the Kids

Relate your activity to them. In addition to Martha, I tend to share the first story I wrote when I go speak to students. My very first book, Weird Pie, was written in second grade and it's still my absolute favorite. I talk to the young people about writing stories or telling a story to their loved one who can write it for them, because every famous person was once a child like them. It is so very true, but the affirmation never gets old. I point out the hands that are the same size as my head and the mistakes I made when I was learning to write. I talk about revising, peer editing, and all the things I know their teacher discusses with them. And when I look out into their smiling faces, I see other writers -- that knowledge gives me great joy.

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Tags

Children, Engaging, Excitement, Kids, Props, Public Speaking, Puppets, Reading, Writing

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Oct 2013 (#)

Phyl, this sounds like a fun visit to the kindergarten. Great job engaging the little ones. This is an age where it's hard for them to keep their attention. But it sounds like you did just that.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
30th Oct 2013 (#)

you are truly wonder filled Phyl...thank you....

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
30th Oct 2013 (#)

We also involuntarily go back to childhood days when with children who are innocence personified. Good tips, Phyl - siva

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author avatar joyalariwo
30th Oct 2013 (#)

Interesting article Phyl, its not easy getting the full attention of kids.
They love to hear a story but its in the telling the tale that you might lose ur audience, wonderful tips to keep in my mind, thanks 4sharing!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
30th Oct 2013 (#)

perhaps mention Insight Trainings for Teens to them...it is an awesome programme to go through... I took it many years ago....

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
30th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, all! Carolina, I do not know this programme. I will have to look into it.

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author avatar Clarence Schreiber
31st Oct 2013 (#)

Phyl this so awesome my friend. Excellent tips as well. Another excellent read my friend.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
31st Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Clarence!

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author avatar Lee Hansen
18th Sep 2014 (#)

This is such good information. I read to children as well and it is so important to keep them engaged. Great tips.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
18th Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks!

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