Eric Maddern….“It has also been observed that the act of storytelling raises the language level of the storyteller. As a result storytellers display a confidence and power that is not present in their other uses of language. Storytelling is therefore an effective way of improving oral fluency. It is good for teachers and children.”
It takes time to make a story your own but you will get quicker at this. Some people learn a story best visualizing it as a series of moving pictures in their imaginations. Others listen to the story on a recording and concentrate on the sound and rhythm of the language. Others might like to write the story down, sometimes in a simple outline. All these methods have their value and can, of course, be used in combination.
Grasping the plot. Obviously the first step is to read the story several times. Decide on what you like about the story that you want to convey to your audience – its humour, sense of wonder, magical strangeness, the way it moves you, its beauty or wisdom. Language teachers must not destroy the story or the student’s engagement in the storytelling and listening by an over enthusiasm for the language teaching potential of the story! Become familiar with its basic construction, how it builds to a climax and resolves in the ending.
Seeing the story. Get to know the people and settings of the story by imagining them in as much detail as possible. This can be done by closing your eyes and visualizing a scene from the story, using all the senses to make it alive and real. For characters, notice the clothes, the way they move, their facial expressions and the way they talk. Only when you can see the story vividly yourself can you make your audience see it.
Timing. You will become aware of what words to emphasize, where to pause, where to speed up and slow down. Don’t be afraid to pause.
Practicing the story and playing with the voice. It is good to try out the story out loud, to yourself, a friend or record it and listen. Play with your voice using different volumes, pitch, breathing and speed.
Movement and gestures. When telling a story you will probably find yourself making gestures. Painting hand pictures in the air can add considerably to the enjoyment of the story and the understanding of the vocabulary – but beware of being distracting. Some storytellers move their bodies a great deal in their telling to add drama, others are very still, and both can be effective.
Eric Maddern…..”It has also been observed that the act of storytelling raises the language level of the storyteller. As a result storytellers display a confidence and power that is not present in their other uses of language. Storytelling is therefore an effective way of improving oral fluency. It is good for teachers and children.”