Monday, April 30, 2012

Poetry and children: terms and techniques

How to eat a poem Don’t be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
May run down your chin.

It is ready and ripe now, wherever you are.

Eve Merriam

Poetry: some techniques (definitions from Poetry Online http://www.poetry-online.org/poetry-terms.htm unless otherwise stated)

Poetry type of literature that is written in meter. A "poem" (from the Greek poiemalis) a specific work of poetry. A Poetry Form is the general organizing principle of a literary work.

Verse A single metrical line of poetry, or poetry in general (as opposed to prose).

Couplet A couplet has rhyming stanzas each made up of two lines. Shakespearean sonnets usually end in a couplet.

Onomatopoeia A figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds. Examples of onomatopoeic words can be found in numerous Nursery Rhymes e.g. clippety-clop and cock-a-doodle-do.
Alliteration The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words such as tongue twisters like 'She sells seashells by the seashore'

Metaphor A metaphor is a pattern equating two seemingly unlike objects. An examples of a metaphor is 'drowning in debt'.

Simile A figure of speech in which two things are compared using the word "like" or "as" to draw attention to similarities about two things that are seemingly dissimilar.

Narrative verse Verse which tells a story e.g. The Wife of Bath's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer. http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/glossary_of_poetic_terms.htm

Ballad A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain.

Lyric poetry A poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. The term lyric is now generally referred to as the words to a song.
Limerick A short sometimes bawdy, humorous poem of consisting of five anapaestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of a Limerick have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.
Haiku A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Haiku reflects on some aspect of nature.

Concrete poetry Experimental poetry which emerged during the 1950-1960s and concentrated on the visual appearance of the words on the page. It featured new typographical arrangements, shape poems and the use of collage etc. It owed much to early figure poems such as The Altar and Easter-Wings by George Herbert. The effect of Concrete Poetry is lost when the poem is read aloud. http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/glossary_poetic_terms_c.htm

Poetry of colloquial, idiomatic speech use of everyday rhyme
“If I can read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that it is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”
Emily Dickinson

Some techniques
Couplet
Willoughby Wallaby Woo
Willoughby, wallaby, woo.
I don’t know what to do.

Willoughby, wallaby, woo.
An elephant sat on me.

...
Dennis Lee

Limerick
There was an old man in a barge,
Whose nose was exceedingly large,
But in fishing by night,
It supported the light
Which helped that old man in the barge.
Edward Lear


Haiku

Evening
In the amber dark
Each island dreams its own night
The sea swims with gold
James Kirkup

Figures of speech
Simile

The Eagle
(second stanza)
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Metaphor
 
The Fog
The fog comes in
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Carl Sandburg

Concrete poetry

Balloon
a s
big as
ball as round
as sun . . . I tug
and pull you when
wind bows I
say polite
ly
H
O
L
D
M
E
T
I
G
H
T
L
Y
Colleen Thibaudeau

Poems can give you

Poems can give you
double vision.
They make you see
the colours you feel
when you’re sad
the sound of a red,
red sunset,
the smells of happiness,
the flavours of the seasons,
Double vision
not blurred
but crisp as last night snow.
Sandra Bogart

Children and poetry
Don’t like poetry? Chances are you had an unpleasant introduction to it as a child. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts you can follow when presenting poetry to children.

Don’t ...
* introduce poetry by dissecting it. Leave the academic exercises for the academics.
* read poetry aloud without practicing it enough to read it well.
* confuse problems that are about children with poems that are for children.
* present poems that have involved figures of speech obsolete language.
* introduce poetry by have children read it silently.
* require children to memorize poetry.
* use poetry as a reading exercise.
* grade a poem.
* select poems that are pedantic or that are about a subject in which children probably have a minimal interest, such as reflections on growing old.
* select poems with obscure meanings or language beyond the child’s comprehension
* underestimate the abilities of children.

Do ...
* make poetry a regular part of a reading program.
* read poetry aloud often.
* provide a variety of poems in books and tapes.
* supply a wide variety of subject matter, a myriad of stanza and rhyme schemes and rhythms.
* make several anthologies available to children.
* select contemporary poetry as well as older material.
* help children avoid sing-song reading aloud.
* choose poems with comprehensible subject matter.
* encourage children to write poetry.
* encourage children to illustrate poems.
* encourage children to form collections of their favourite poems.
* choose poems that have action or humour.
* try choral or dramatic readings or have children pantomime poetry.

Adapted from –
Russell, David L. Literature and children. White Plains, New York: Longman Publishing Group, 1991, pp. 83-84.

Sutherland, Zena and May Hill Arbuthnot, Children and books 7th ed. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1986, pp. 276-277.

See also –
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, Pass the poetry please! New York: Harper & Row, 1987.

Monday, April 23, 2012

American library association

American Library Association. Criteria for teens’ top ten books (TTT). http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/teenreading/teenstopten/tttcriteria.cfm
Retrieved April 23, 2012.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Series book and formula fiction

Why formula and series fiction?
  • What gets young readers to read?
  • What keeps them reading?
  • What keeps them reading long enough to become confident reader?
Formula fiction

  • Follows a pattern
  • Plots, characters and themes are predetermined by conventions of genre
  • “patterned” literature


Formula fiction: some genres
  • Mystery and detective stories
  • Sports stories
  • Romance stories

A little history

  • 1887 – Publisher’s Trade List
  • 16 pages – 440 authors and 900 books
  • Not popular with adults BUT very popular with intermediate and young adult readers
  • Divided along gender lines
  • Formula written
  • Stereotypical cardboard characters
  • Elsie Dinsmore
    28 volumes
  • Form peaked in mid-30s


Series books

  • Continuity is the key
    o Covers that look the same
    o Reading levels (often easy) that don’t vary
    o Main characters show little development
  • Marketed like a product
    o Build brand recognition
    o Covers are really important
  • Kids encouraged to collect the books and related licensed merchandise
  • Join clubs
    o Discuss with friends



Why series books are popular

  • Predictable and repetitive nature
    o Readers looking for the same experience each time
  • May provide needed escape
  • Familiarity
    o Characters
    o plot
  • Strong identification with one character
    o Capable of action, taking on adult responsibilities


Series books ...

  • Important stage in the development of independent reading
  • Minimizes the risk of reading
    o Readers not yet confident enough to make their own choice
    o The “what next” decision
    o “Getting into” a book is easier
  • Satisfaction is guaranteed
  • May provide first positive experience with books
    o Associate reading with pleasure
  • Encourage free voluntary reading
  • Great for less confident readers
  • Learn to read by reading
    o Literary competence


Categories of series books: five

  • #1 – character growth
    o Plots similar, but separate
    o e.g. Tolkien, LeGuin, L’Engle
  • #2 – strong, central character
    o Slight changes with each book
    o But order is usually unimportant
    o E.g. Cleary, Lowry, Danziger
  • #3 – strong, central character
    o But no change or development
    o E.g. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys
  • #4 – imprint
    o Similar themes and story lines
    o But different character
    o E.g. Goosebumps, Fear Street
  • #5 – informational books
    o Tied together by content and/or layout and design
    o E.g. Eyewitness series


The Importance of bulk reading
  • Offers
    o Speed and comfort
    o Familiarity
    o Reassuring simplicity
    o Devotion to surface action
    o Complete absence of introspection
  • Advantages
    o Rapid change is frightening
    o Books may reassure
    o Life can be predictable and can be controlled
  • Learn ‘shape’ of stories
    o Plot
    o Climax
    o Resolution
    o Heroes and villains
  • Danger
    o Reader skims along
    o Never gets involved with book/character
    o Never deeply moved by a book
    o Miss out on a profoundly human experience
  • Don’t develop
    o Critical thinking
    o Imagination
    o Empathy for others
    o Love of language
  • More time spent with formula/patterned fiction
    o More difficult to make the transition
  • Literature demands more
    o More complex sentence structure
    o Larger vocabulary
    o Original storylines
    o More fully developed characters
Competition
  • After school/weekend
  • Video/computer games
  • Internet, etc. ...
Series and formula fiction: Nancy Drew
  • Plays upon restlessness and idealism
  • Shows pure fantasy
    o Power of youth
  • What’s it like to be 10 or 11?
    o Time hangs suspended ...
  • Best selling detective series in the world
  • Now covers all market segments
  • Was born in 1930
    o 10 years after American women got the vote
  • Almost superhuman capabilities
    o Nine lives?
  • Very powerful
    o Can do virtually anything
  • In danger
    o Uses “quick wits” and other mental tools
  • Adults are eternally grateful
    o Play minor roles
  • But she remains humble
  • Writing style
    o Full of clich├ęs, stilted writing
  • Themes
    o Glorification of youthful competence
    o Adult life is manageable – common sense
  • Resolution of adventure is unimportant
    o Weakest point of books
  • What does matter?
    o Excitement of narrative journey
  • Represents final stage
    o Reading about playing at being grown up

Proliferation of one parent families

  • Characters have time on their own
  • Can test themselves
  • May suffer from benign neglect


One parent families
  • Have more freedom
    o Can make mistakes
    o But also succeed
  • Fulfill longing of all children to test their own competence

Why should you stock series/formula fiction?

  • Kids like them
  • Fill out your collection’s need for high demand intermediate/young adult literature
    o Least output of time and money
  • Collection should meet needs of its users
  • Increase in circulation figures


http://web.archive.org/web/20020709100206/http://www.english.upenn.edu/~rbarrett/mc/dent.txt

Marilyn Cannaday wrote a biography of Lester Dent, Bigger than Life: the Creator of Doc Savage (Bowling Green State University Popular Press, c1990). Jason A. Walcott, of the University of Iowa, especially enjoyed the appendix items, and emailed newsgroups he belonged to in 1995 of one particular appendix item: Dent’s “template” for writing a pulp story, first published in a writer’s magazine in the fifties, explaining how to build your ‘yarn’.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Children’s and young adult literature awards and prizes


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Country Name of award
International International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)
http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=home
Hans Christian Andersen Medal
http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=273
Often called the “Little Nobel Prize”.
Award winners for 1956-2008
http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=308
2008 Award winners http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=789
2010 Award winners http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=959
Canadian Canadian Library Association
The Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award
http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Book_of_the_Year_for_Children_Award
The Book of the Year for Children Award
http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Book_of_the_Year_for_Children_Award
The Young Adult Canadian Book Award
http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Young_Adult_Canadian_Book_Award&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=9708
Notables
Governor General’s Literary Awards
http://canadacouncil.ca/news/releases/2003/he127245320923125000.htm
http://canadacouncil.ca/prizes/ggla/default.htm
Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC)
http://www.bookcentre.ca/
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction http://www.bookcentre.ca/awards/norma_fleck_award_canadian_childrens_nonfiction
Ruth Schwartz Children’s Book Award http://www.bookcentre.ca/awards/ruth_and_sylvia_schwartz_children%E2%80%99s_book_award
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young Readers http://www.bookcentre.ca/awards/geoffrey_bilson_award_historical_fiction_young_people
Manitoba School Library Association
Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award
http://www.myrca.ca/
Kraft Canada Inc.
The Mr. Christie’s Book Awards
http://www.bookcentre.ca/awards/mr_christies_book_award
Canadian Awards Index (CCBC)
American American Library Association
The Caldecott Medal
http://www.ala.org/template.cfm?template=/CFApps/awards_info/award_detail_home.cfm&FilePublishTitle=Awards,%20Grants%20and%20Scholarships&uid=E5C72B4A36B54164
The John Newberry Medal
http://www.ala.org/template.cfm?template=/CFApps/awards_info/award_detail_home.cfm&FilePublishTitle=Awards,%20Grants%20and%20Scholarships&uid=9975B44A8D61AEE9
The Laura Ingalls Widler Medal
http://www.ala.org/template.cfm?template=/CFApps/awards_info/award_detail_home.cfm&FilePublishTitle=Awards,%20Grants%20and%20Scholarships&uid=445602B7732BC938
Coretta Scott King Award
http://www.ala.org/template.cfm?template=/CFApps/awards_info/award_detail_home.cfm&FilePublishTitle=Awards,%20Grants%20and%20Scholarships&uid=A3F20048C4DAB6F2
The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video
http://www.ala.org/template.cfm?template=/CFApps/awards_info/award_detail_home.cfm&FilePublishTitle=Awards,%20Grants%20and%20Scholarships&uid=86FF9881AEEFA1EE
Scott O’Dell Award Committee
Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction http://www.scottodell.com/Pages/ScottO'DellAwardforHistoricalFiction.aspx
British Library Association
Kate Greenaway Medal
http://carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway/ http://carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway/full_list_of_winners.php
Carnegie Medal
Shadowing the Medals http://carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie/ http://carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie/full_list_of_winners.php

Monday, April 2, 2012

Storytelling



The first law of storytelling ...
Every man is bound to leave a story better than he found it.




Mrs. Humphrey Ward
Storytelling encompasses so much that it defies an easy label. The telling part of the term touches on its most manifest aspect: but it also includes listening, imagining, caring, judging, reading, adapting, creating, observing, remembering, and planning.

Jack Maguire
Storytelling is one of the oldest and most natural of human activities. We are all storytellers – when we tell a joke, when we talk about our day around the dinner table or when we recount the plot of our favourite movie. This unit provides you with the skills necessary to become a storyteller.

Two videotapes, Storytelling with Caroline Fehler Bauer, provides many valuable hints about the art of storytelling, and The American storytellers series, provides an opportunity to view professional storytellers. A variety of storytelling styles and different types of stories are demonstrated.



Storytelling comes to us from the oral tradition. Originally, all knowledge was transmitted orally. Storytelling was one of the major ways that information was passed on from generation to generation. Whether the setting was a castle, a church, or some rough hut on the edge of the woods, it is not hard to imagine a group of people gathered around the storyteller and listening intently. And while children were certainly present when stories were being told, they were often not the primary audience.

Over the centuries, storytelling has been used in a variety of ways. Long before the advent of recorded music and radios, storytelling was used as a way of passing the time while doing repetitive work such as spinning or sewing. Parents and grandparents both used storytelling – as a way of entertaining or calming (grand)children or even putting them to sleep.


Storytelling differs from reading aloud in two key aspects:


  1. Storytellers do not display a book while telling the story.
  2. Each story telling experience is different – even if you’re telling the same tale. Reading aloud, however, is more fixed or static as you read the same words each time you present the story.

Whether the storyteller changes the story each time it is told varies from culture to culture around the world. For example, Inuit storytellers must tell a story exactly the same way each time the story is told. On the other hand, Zuni storytellers are expected to embellish their stories or the audience will be disappointed.

Storytellers form a unique bond with their audiences. Not only must storytellers convey the plot of the story being told, but they must also take their audience right inside the tale and convey a sense of actually being there.


A decline in the art and practice of storytelling occurred after World War II for a number of reasons. First, the rise of literacy and mass publishing undermined the role of the traditional storyteller. The introduction of television simply hastened this decline. Second, changes in the family unit affected how often family members were exposed to storytelling. As families moved into urban centres, the links with the older generation, typically the keepers of the oral tradition, were often lost.


Finally, the explosion in children’s literature that began about 30 years ago has had both a negative and positive impact on the art of storytelling. Writing down a story often changes it dramatically as written language differs significantly from spoken language. Furthermore, once a story is written down, no one has to remember it anymore. On the other hand, today’s storytellers are able to mine a rich vein of stories because others took the time to collect, record and publish the stories.


Storytelling is once again part of our culture. It is now a vibrant and exciting art form. And we understand – thanks to the writings of such diverse scholars as Carl Jung, Bruno Bettleheim and Joseph Campbell – that the stories told in traditional folk, fairy tales and myths still have much to teach us.


Ironically, even though today’s children are bombarded with visuals – in textbooks, picture books, television, video games and so on – many believe that modern children are losing their powers of imagination. Storytelling for them is often a unique experience as they learn how to make pictures in their own heads.


How to choose a story: sources
The oral tradition consists of two types of material: inherited stories and life stories. Inherited stories include traditional stories such as myths, legends, and folk and fairy tales that are passed on within a cultural group. Life stories focus on people and their experiences – as individuals, or members of a family or tribe. Life stories are powerful – teaching many lessons and becoming the glue which binds a group together. Finally, a third type of material is now being created and used. Many contemporary storytellers weave together a variety of threads – from both traditional sources and more contemporary sources – to create a new kind of story.


You will undoubtedly read many stories before you find one that you feel comfortable telling. Traditional stories such as folk and fairy tales, legends, and tall tales are all good sources of storytelling material. You’ll probably find many anthologies in your library’s collection. Look outside your own culture for interesting variations of inherited stories.


Children are always interested in stories about other people – perhaps you can tell a life story. Focus on telling about one incident from the life of a famous person, or you may be able to tell a story from your own family’s experiences that suits your purpose. Ballads and narrative verse are suitable for telling to older children.


If you choose a folk, fairy tale, legend, or tall tale you can usually find a simplified version of the story in a picture book. Reading that simpler version will help you to fix the basic plot in your mind. But do not use that version to tell your story.


HINT

  • Read several versions of the same story. You may find one that you feel quite comfortable re-telling or you may wish to combine several different versions and create your own new version.
  • Avoid most simplified versions of legends. These picture books, which are aimed at younger children, tend not to adequately convey the sense of wonder found in these stories.
Look for the following characteristics as you read stories:

The story should


  • Have a single theme
  • Have a well-developed ploto Opening* Is brief
    * Sets the scene
    * Introduces the main characters* Arouses anticipation* Then plunges directly into the actiono Middle* Has lots of action* Shows a logical progression between incidents* Keeps any explanation/descriptions brief* Avoids subplots, flashbacks, digressionso Ending* Resolves the conflict and eases the tension created in the story* Leaves readers feeling satisfied
HINT
• When choosing stories to tell to children, match your story to the listening, not the reading ability of your audience. Remember that children’s listening skills are usually more well developed than their reading skills.


Literary folk tales
You’ll also need to pay attention to the style used in the story. Be wary of using “literary” folk tales since these often require extensive memorization to reproduce the author’s exact words. Many of these authors/collectors of traditional stories, recorded them in fairly formal language which doesn’t translate well into an oral style.


Authors/collectors of literary folktales include


  • Hans Christian Anderson
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Andrew Lang
  • Charles Perrault

A story that is suitable for telling will have the following characteristics:

  • Employs an oral styleo Contains more dialogue than descriptiono Paints vivid word pictureso Uses rhythm and repetition
  • Shows effective characterizationo Characters should be believable ORo They may represent qualities* E.g. goodness, evil, beauty
  • Contains dramatic appealo A good story is a “drama in miniature”
  • Appropriate for listenerso 3-5 years old* Like rhythm and repetition* Simple, direct plots* Clear and simple images* Action that quickly builds to a climax* Satisfying endingo 6-9 years old* Shows peak interest in traditional folk and fairy tales* Look for variants from other cultures* Legends, hero tales and tall tales are suitable* Ballads and narrative verse can also be used
Consider the age of your audience when choosing a story.

You’ll want to avoid stories with any of the following elements:


  1. Side issues, didactic morals
  2. Unfamiliar words
  3. Too many details
  4. Over explanation
  5. Too much introspection
  6. Satire
It will take time to find the right story for you. It’s important that you find a story that matches your personality and style. Choose a story that “suits” you; one that speaks to you in a very personal way.

Then you must live with the story until the characters and setting are your own. Your goal: tell the story like a personal reminiscence – something that you would like to sharer with your friends.


How to learn a story
There is no one right way to learn a story. The method or methods you choose should be based on how you learn new material. Ask yourself some questions:


  • Do you learn best by imitating others?Then you’ll want to watch other storytellers in action and begin copying them. Of course, over time, you will develop your own style of storytelling.
  • Do you learn best by memorizing?Then you’ll be most successful if you learn your story by listening to it and reading it.
  • Do you learn best on the spot – by improvising?Then you should focus on putting the story into your own words.
  • Do you learn best by drawing pictures?Then you’ll learn best by drawing a storyboard that outlines your story.HINT
  • As you learn your story you also need to focus on your purpose.Why are you telling the story?o Is it to entertain or to educate your audience?o What mood do you wish to create?o What response are you expecting from your audience?o What word pictures do you want them to see?o What do you want to share about the story?* E.g. its humour or nonsense, or its sense of wonder or beauty?
A Useful technique
Breaking the story up into individual scenes may help you learn the sequence of the story. As an example, here is the story of Little Red Riding Hood broken into individual scenes:


  1. Red sets out to deliver her goodies
  2. Red meets Wolf
  3. Wolf runs to Grandma’s house and eats her
  4. Red distracted in the woods
  5. Red encounters Wolf in Grandma’s clothes
  6. Wolf eats Red
  7. Woodsman rescues Red and Grandma
  8. All three eat cake
  9. And they all live happily ever after ...
Other ways to learn a story

  • Prepare a story mapo Divide your story into its beginning, middle and endo Describe in point form what happens in each section
  • Tape the storyo Lets you focus on the words and your delivery of themo But, remember that the tape will show all your vocal imperfections
  • Test yourselfo Write plot without referring to story
  • Tell the story to a family member or friendo Ask for constructive criticism about your presentation
  • Read the story before you go to sleep, while riding the bus or doing other tasks
  • Type or write out your storyo Compare your version with your source material
Hint

  • Pay close attention to the beginning and your ending
  • Study the beginnings of some folk and fairy tales. Note how, despite using different words, they all accomplish the same thing. For example, the traditional “Once upon a time ...” works because it immediately transports us to another time and place.
Stories also end in a variety of ways. Be sure that all the threads of your tale are tied up, before you signal that your story is over. The traditional “and they lived happily ever after” is effective because it provides a sense of closure to the story. Different cultures use different types of endings. A personal favourite is an ending used by Swahili storytellers who say, “If the story was beautiful, the beauty belongs to all of us; if it was bad, then the fault is mine, who told it.”

The Use of props
Beginning storytellers often wonder if they should include a prop when they tell a story. The advantage of using a prop is that it gives you something to hide behind while making your presentation. You know that your audience’s attention will be focused on the prop for at least part of your story. However, some storytellers find that the prop is just one more thing to worry about. They prefer to concentrate on the story and its presentation.


Props can include the use of

  • Costumes, either full or partial
  • Puppets
  • Stuffed animals
  • Masks
  • Chalkboard/white board
  • Flannel board


Make the story your own
Once you’ve chosen a story you’ll need to read it several times:


  1. Begin by reading the entire story, noting it’s overall effect.
  2. Read it again, focusing on the characters:
    1. Become familiar with characters and scenes
      1. What are they like?
      2. What motivates them?
      3. What conflicts are they involved in?
      4. Are they clever? Kind? Greedy? Vain?
    2. How are they dressed?
    3. How do they speak?
      1. Quickly – in short sentences?
      2. Or more slowly in longer sentences?
  3. Next, turn your attention to the structure of the story as you read it again:a. Focuses on what happens in the story. In what order?b. Where is the climax?
  4. Finally, read it for a fourth time, concentrating on the setting(s):a. Visualize the individual scenesb. Take a walk through the storyi. Imagine the sounds, tastes, scents, coloursii. Observe the characters – what are they doing?c. Key – see the story vividly
Hint

  • Resist the temptation to memorize the story
  • Instead, focus on learning the story, so you can recreate it for your audience
  • The exception:o Do memorize your beginning and conclusiono Do memorize any catch words or phrases that are repeated in your story
Common faults encountered when telling a story
Telling a story is like any kind of public presentation. You’ll want to avoid the following:


  • Speaking too quickly
  • Speaking too slowly
  • Speaking too softly
  • Speaking with too high a voice
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Using distracting gestures
You’re on – the presentation
The time has arrived and you’re about to tell your story. But, before you begin, make sure you have done what you can to control your environment. Many public libraries have a separate storytelling room. This is an ideal situation as it allows you total control over your environment. If, however, you are telling stories close to the book stacks, you need to minimize the interruptions as much as possible. Consider –


  • Arranging for someone else to answer the telephone
  • Turning the intercom down/off
Hint
There are a number of techniques for preparing children to listen to a story:


  • Light a story-time candle. At the end of storytime, have the children make a wish and then blow out the candle.
  • Ask the children to close their eyes and imagine the setting of your story.
  • Use music, either taped or live as way of setting the mood.
  • Briefly introduce the main character OR some aspect of the plot.
Before you start

  1. Place yourself so that your audience can see you.
  2. Get your audience ready to listen to you.
  3. Call up the essential emotions in the story.
  4. Breathe deeply.
The Presentation itself

  • Start presentation with an intimate toneo May introduce source of story or leave for the end of presentation
  • Begin story with dramao Instantly transport listeners into another world
  • Look directly at your audience
  • Speak in a pleasant, low-pitched voice
  • Speak clearly and distinctly
  • Use your hands naturally
  • Remember your storylineo Do not veer off the path
  • End your story in a satisfying way
  • Acknowledge source of story if you did not do this at the beginning
Conclusion
Storytelling provides an intimate and joyful way of presenting stories and getting children interested in books. Although this unit has primarily focused on telling stories to children, storytelling works well with all ages.


It’s natural to feel nervous when you tell a story. Over time, some of the nervousness will disappear as you begin to take ownership of the story.


Work at developing a repertoire of different types of stories. That way, you will always have a story to suit the audience and the occasion.


Treat each time you tell a story as a learning experience. Take a few minutes afterwards to evaluate what happened and think about how you might change it or improve it for the next time.


But above all – relax and have fun!



Today, we live, but by tomorrow today will be a story. The whole world, all human life, is one long story.



Isaac Bashevis Singer


Bibliography

There is no right way to learn a story. This module contains a variety of techniques gleaned from practice as well as watching and talking to other storytellers. The best way to learn storytelling is to watch others and practice yourself. As noted in the module, it’s important to choose a story you like for storytelling. Then, using the techniques outlined in this module, (the ones that feel right to you) practice with your story until it feels natural to you.


Here’s a list of books about storytelling available. Some of the books also contain techniques for planning story times.


Baker, Augusta and Ellin Greene. Storytelling: art and technique. New York, NY: R. Bowker Co., 1987.


Bauer, Caroline Feller. Caroline Feller Bauer’s new handbook for storytellers: with stories, poems, magic, and more. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 1993.


Cobb, Jane, complier. I’m a little teapot! Presenting preschool storytime. Vancouver, BC: Black Sheep Press, 1996.


DeWitt, Dorothy. Children’s faces looking up: program building for the storyteller. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 1979.


Livo, Norma J. and Sandra Reitz. Storytelling: process and practice. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1986.


Moore, Vardine. Pre-school story hour. Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1972.


Pellowski, Anne. The family storytelling handbook: how to use stories, anecdotes, rhymes, handkerchiefs, paper and other objects to enrich your family traditions. New York, NY: Macmillan, 1987.


Pellowski, Anne. World of storytelling. New York, NY: Bowker, 1977.


Sawyer, Ruth. Way of the storyteller. New York, NY: Viking Press, 1962.


Shedlock, Marie L. Art of the storyteller. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1951.


Tooze, Ruth. Storytelling. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959.