Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘words’

Storytelling Starters ~ Getting Participation/ 4

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

The storyteller, Beulah Candappa, said it brilliantly: ‘Storytelling is the art of time and silence.’ How right she was. Time is especially important with young children. Making time, taking time, valuing the time that’s taken – all helps with encouraging participation. And in that connection my tip this week is about getting participation through the way you use words.

Parents, teachers, Nursery Nurses and others have often commented to me that when I’m telling a story, it may take twenty minutes, but when they retell it, it takes just three. So what’s the difference? I’m certainly not claiming that all stories should take twenty minutes. What I do say is that, with young children, the story should feel long enough. Long enough for the children to relax and get into it. Long enough for them to feel they’ve inhabited it and been on a journey with it. In this respect, it’s my belief that an enormous difference is made by the words you use and how you use them.

The Naughty Little Mouse:

Yesterday, for instance, I was telling the story of The Naughty Little Mouse. You can find a full version in my book, Stories for Young Children and how to tell them! where it’s also on the accompanying CD). I was originally told this little folktale by a woman from India. In my subsequent retellings, I found I was adapting it more and more for children in the UK.

In The Naughty Little Mouse, the little mouse first manages to inveigle a shop-keeper into giving her a piece of cloth. In a second shop, she gets the cloth made into a hat. In a third, she gets the hat decorated with braid and sparkly sequins. Finally, finding herself in Buckingham Palace, she succeeds in getting to sit on the Queen’s throne for one whole day before, at the end of the story, she goes back home. By the time she arrives, she’s exhausted.

Cloth? Throne? Exhausted? (more…)