The art of storytelling is probably is old as the use of language. Before the development of writing, stories were passed down by word of mouth, forming a tradition of oral literature. It takes imagination to tell stories and, of course, imagination to listen.
Sample some of the following activities to learn more about storytelling.
The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about storytelling.
Virtually travel to the American South of the 1800s and explore the origin of the Brer Rabbit tales. They had their roots in Africa. Most slaves captured in Africa and transported to the Americas brought nothing with them but their language, histories, and the stories they had heard all their lives in Africa.
In this story, the king of Persia had developed a bad habit of marrying a young woman, spending one night with her, and then beheading her and marrying a new person. Scheherazade was the lovely young girl whose storytelling skills were so superb that she kept the king entertained night after night with her fascinating tales so that he didn’t have the heart to cut off her head
Travel to Germany in the 1800s and listen to the Struwwelpeter stories. The goal of these children’s stories was to teach good manners and lessons of appropriate behavior. By today’s standards, they are somewhat shocking as well as amusing.
Travel to west Africa and meet individuals called griots. Male griots and female griottes have the important role of being official storytellers for their cultures. They know and tell the history of their people in pure oral tradition. It is their job to keep their people’s history and culture alive
To become a great storyteller, travel to Ireland and visit the Blarney Stone. If you kiss the Blarney Stone, you will receive the gift of eloquence.
Tip toe down the Moonlit Road. It's a collection of scary stories from the American south told by professional storytellers
Travel to the National Storytelling Festival and rub shoulders with the best.
Visit school playgrounds and listen to the stories of jump-rope rhymes.
Visit scenic Mt. Timpanogas and experience one of the best storytelling festivals in the U.S.
Visit the Will Rogers Historic Museum. He was a storyteller and entertainer from the early 1900s who told such good stories that he was able to captivate audiences across the United States. He told stories at the 1904 World’s Fair, on Broadway as part of the Ziegfield Follies, on his famous radio program, in a newspaper column, and at one-man sold-out performances
Listen to the stories of Barry McWilliam. Find out about his storytelling techniques. His Effective Storytelling: A Manual for Beginners is an excellent resource with many applications to classroom teaching.
Visit with 6 prominent storytellers: Carmen Deedy, Syd Lieberman, Dovie Thomason-Sickles, Donald Davis, Waddie Mitchell, and Rex Ellis and get ideas for honing your storytelling skills.
Get to know Geoffrey Chaucer. He was a master storyteller
Meet Jay O'Callahan, professional storyteller. Read his advice on creating stories.
Resources for storytelling (or story telling), including the acclaimed series Gifts of Story
This site has some great ideas to help get students started. "Storytelling in the classroom provides an open door for children of all ages to reveal gifts and talents, insights and creativity, critical thinking and development of skills that help us all understand others. Storytelling adds depth that traditional methods of learning do not always inspire."
Educational Web site, designed for teachers, librarians, and students,explores the use of storytelling in the classroom to enhance speaking, listening, reading and writing skills
Storytelling is truly an art. Read style tips from professional storytellers and hear RealAudio clips of their stories
Discover the traits of tellable tales.
- Barton, Bob and Booth, David. Stories in the Classroom. Pembroke Publishers.1990
- Barton, Bob. Tell Me Another: Storytelling and Reading Aloud at Home, at School and in the Community. Pembroke Publishers. 1986
- Cassady, Marsh. Storytelling Step By Step. San Jose, Calif.: Resource Publications, c1990.
- Cullum, Carolyn N. The Storytime Sourcebook: A Compendium of Ideas and Resources for Storytellers. New York: Neal-Schuman, c1990.
- Hamilton, Martha. Through the Grapevine: World Tales Kids CanR & Tell. Little Rock: August House Publishers, 2001.
- Lipkin, Lisa. Bringing the Story Home: the Complete Guide to Storytelling. New York: W.W. Norton, c2000.
- Pellowski, Anne. The World of Storytelling. Bronx, NY: H.W. Wilson, 1990.
- Pellowski, Anne. The Storytelling Handbook. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
- Shelley, Marshall. Telling Stories to Children. Batavia, Ill., USA : Lion Pub. Co., 1990.
- Simmons, Annette. Secrets of Influence from the Art of Storytelling. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus, c2001.