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Sample Curriculum: Hands-on Introduction to Storytelling

Value of Storytelling
  • Storytelling is an age-old art, which has taught and entertained generations for eons.
  • Information, values and cultural awareness are transmitted effortlessly through stories.
  • Given comfortable opportunities, children can enjoy the benefits of being the teller as well as the listener.
Description of 1 or 2 day residencies for grades K and up:
  • Students are divided into small groups of approximately twenty.
  • Introduce them to storytelling with stories and songs as examples.
  • Tell the story that they will help to tell in a later assembly.
  • Depending on age and material participation might involve, hands-motions, refrains, group activity, group lines, individual actions and/or lines.
  • As a group we'll explore how to present story to an audience.
  • Assembly for entire school or family night.


As Story Participants, the student will:
  • Have a positive experience of performing appropriate to their age level.
  • Realize the value of group effort.
  • Gain immediate satisfaction of participating in a group effort. Since each child has no major responsibility, there is no tension of extended solo performance.
  • Experience the feeling of bringing joy to others.
  • Explore the use of gesture, verbal expression and body movements to express ideas and emotions.

As Story Listeners, the student will:
  • Practice attending to an oral presentation.
  • Reinforce knowledge of story sequence (beginning, middle and end).
  • Appreciate the cultural origin of story.
  • Watch peer performance as examples of how they can/will perform later.
  • Respond to the efforts of all the story participants regardless of the experience and skill level (Anybody can tell a story).
  • Like it because it's storytelling and it is fun.

Before the Performance:
  • Read several folktales to your class. They can be found in 398.2 in the library. Read multiple versions of the same story as ask children to compare how they are alike and different.
  • Reading vs. Telling: Have someone read a story they know from a book. Then have someone tell a similar type of story (a student or the teacher). Talk about the difference and which one they liked better. Why?
  • Have students make a list of things that make an oral story more interesting. Have them watch Mr. Galipeau, and other students if included, to see if they use things listed. Also have them watch for things they had not listed.

After the performance, things to discuss and do:
  • Have students talk about what things on their list made the stories interesting. What new things did they see that were not on the list.
  • Have the children write down/discuss what they learned from the stories.
  • Have the children write down/discuss what the stories made them think about.
  • Have students draw pictures of what they 'saw' in the story. Have them compare how they are the same and different from other students.
  • Have the students retell/reenact the stories told either alone or as a group. Younger students may reenact favorite parts.
  • Have the students find and tell a complete story that is age appropriate. This can be anything from a family story, joke, small poem, folktale or short story.
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