National Storytelling Week (31 January–7 February 2015)
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To celebrate one of our most ancient art forms.
Preparation and materials
- Gather some images of the books your school is featuring for National Storytelling Week with their titles and relevant pictures and have the means to display them during the assembly.
- Prepare a short story to read to the students.
- Have available the song ‘Wonderous stories’ by Yes and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.
- Stories can be found everywhere – in books, magazines and newspapers, on the Internet, radio and television . . . They can even be found in our heads!
- Show the images of the books being featured for National Storytelling Week.
Here are some of the books and stories we will be enjoying during National Storytelling Week, but, believe it or not, we are all natural storytellers, whether it’s discussing what we did over the weekend, painting pictures with a hidden meaning, writing imaginative poems or thinking up creative stories for our friends and families.
- Imagine if we didn’t have the ability to communicate with each other with words – there would be no historic tales, scientific discoveries or literature to share and celebrate. How very boring that would be.
- There is more to storytelling than simply reading out the words on a page – it is an opportunity to bring people together, express our emotions and use our imaginations in a fun and productive way.
- Many storytellers start by reading folktales, myths and legends. These stories have been passed down for generations, being told rather than read, and are still enjoyed today.
I’m going to give you some little clues in a moment to some of our favourite myths and legends. Raise your hands if you can guess what they might be.
– He robbed the rich to feed the poor.
– This creature is said to live in a Scottish lake.
– She has snakes for her hair and the power to turn you to stone.
- Of course, storytelling is not just limited to myths and legends – it can also be used for teaching. Stories enable us to soak up new knowledge and improve our vocabulary and literary skills. Just think, with a bit more storytelling, you could be as brainy as Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking or William Shakespeare!
- Here are some storytelling tips.
– First, a storyteller does not choose the stories, the stories choose the teller. If you choose a story that you really love, your telling of it will be much better than if you try to tell a story you find a bit dull or don’t fully understand.
– When telling a story to your class, family or friends, it is a good idea to learn an existing story, but develop your own version, ensuring that your story will meet the needs of your audience. For example, if you are reading to younger siblings, make sure the words are easy to understand and are not frightening.
– Relax and put your heart and soul into the story as, that way, it will be fresh and spontaneous.
– Check that your audience is ready to listen. Look round to ensure everyone is settled before you begin.
– Start clearly. You might use a traditional beginning, such as, ‘Once upon a time’ or, ‘Far away and long ago’. These are both traditional English story beginnings, but there are lots, so find one that goes well with your story.
– Make eye contact with members of your audience – this engages them.
– Vary the rhythm and tone of your voice – this brings the story to life and makes it more exciting.
– End the story strongly. There are many traditional endings, such as, ‘They lived happily ever’, but you could use others and even be creative and make up your own!
Time for reflection
Invite the students to think for a few moments about their favourite story or book – how has it affected them as people?
Now imagine a world without stories – how dull it would be!
We thank you for the world in which we live, the people we meet and the adventures we go on.
Please guide us in our adventures and teach us how to love and appreciate the beauty around us.
‘Wonderous stories’ by Yes