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POV: Stay connected through stories

Storytelling is the art of conveying a tale through voice and gestures. It is not the same experience as reading a story, reciting from memory or acting out a play. The more you tell stories, the better you will become.

Try different techniques to enhance your stories. Alliteration uses several words in a row starting with the same letter such as “Sammy the snake slithered.” Repeating the same key phrase or chant will give your story a sense of rhythm. Creatively using your facial expressions accompanied with other body language will convey the mood. Change it up and use a variety in word choices and fluctuate the tone of your voice to match what you are saying. Eventually you will develop your own style of colorful language that paints pictures in the listeners’ minds, and the storytelling experience will be emotional and meaningful for you, as well as for your listeners.

As we have become more dependent on technology to share our thoughts and ideas, telling a story forces us to reflect on what we want to say and to rely on our own verbal skills to articulate those reflections. There are so many reasons why this practice is as educational as it is entertaining. Storytelling exposes children to language beyond their reading ability, gets them excited about learning something new, helps them to remember important details, teaches them the value of oral history, reinforces the skill of making mental pictures and encourages reading while it enriches writing.

Its value doesn’t stop there. Parents can wisely use storytelling to teach valuable lessons. For example, tell a cautionary tale to help your child predict natural consequences to inappropriate behaviors. Another twist on how to teach character through storytelling is to use an actual event of misbehavior. Have your child tell the story of what happened up to the point where the misstep occurred and allow your child to change the ending to create a happy and more satisfying conclusion.

A famous author once said, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

Felicia Bordick and her colleagues, Carol Smith and Joyce Thomas, are authors of “Kitchen Table Time: Recipes for School Success.” Please feel free to contact Felicia Bordick with comments, questions, or suggestions at kitchentabletime@gmail.com.

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