|This photo cracks me up.|
How (and Why) We Started to Encourage Storytelling
I can't remember exactly when it was (6 months ago?) that I introduced the idea of storytelling. I thought other kids his age (the girls, really) seemed to do a bit more imaginative role-playing than he did - mainly with dolls (feeding them, dressing them, etc.). So one day I suggested that we tell stories with his hotwheels cars. Wow did that open the floodgates! There have been a few days when I thought, "What was I thinking?" Because we hear about 20 times a day: "Tell a story about a blue car!" as he comes running at us with a miniature blue minivan. His favorite is for us to tell him stories, but he is fairly good about taking turns, so after I tell a story, he will too. He wants stories while we're driving, during diaper changes, during his bath... Once he started to try to tell the stories too, he seemed to suddenly speak in full sentences much more often. I love that it exercises his verbal and creative thinking skills; it makes him think AND is fun for him -- a winning combo.
I had twin goals for creating a story journal for him. First, I wanted to capture the cute stories that he has started telling. And, second, and maybe more selfishly, I wanted to encourage him to be the teller more than I am. It has been working fairly well so far.
On Monday, I showed him the journal that I bought him, and gave him a drawer full of stickers and said he could decorate it any way he wanted. I thought I'd ease into the story writing. He put on one sticker and insisted it was done and he wanted to write a story together! (I coaxed him into the second sticker). Then he dictated this to me:
We used the stickers that I had gotten out to encourage him to think of ideas for the story. Usually, all of his stories are about cars and trucks - probably because that is what he plays with most often. I plan to put the journal in his "Reading and Storytelling" box every few days with a prompt to tell a story about a certain topic.
"Once upon a time, there was a bird. And the bird was flying away upside down! The bird was silly. And the bird was meeting a penguin. The end."
10 Additional Ideas for Encouraging Storytelling
- Use what they love as a topic. In our case, that was cars. But if your child loves horses, then have every story be about horses until they get the hang of it.
- Take turns within a story. You start, then ask them to say a bit, etc. Also, prompt them with questions. Who is your story going to be about? Where are they going? How does it end? I try not to do this TOO much, because I don't want it to just be a fill in the blank exercise, but it can definitely help when they're stuck.
- Model/copy ideas from other books. The author will probably forgive you some idea plagiarism if you are only 2. We blogged about doing something like this recently with a Sneaky Sheep book (he wrote a story called The Sneaky Cat Book).
- Use props! We used a pile of stickers this week for ideas. We usually use all of his toy cars (or other cars we see on the road when we're driving). He has a homemade I-spy quilt that would also be great for inspiration. You could fill a brown paper bag with small items and let them pick a few each time they tell a story. Here are some other great examples of storytelling props that we have starred in our google reader for "someday":
- Story Stones from Frugal Family Fun Blog (maybe we'll do this one this week!)
- Tell Me a Story Blocks from Chasing Cheerios
- I Spy Blocks or Storytelling Dice from Obsessively Stitching
- There's always Google. This looks like a fun list of activities
- Keep reading! Books will not only fill their heads with ideas, but teach them about the essential elements (character, setting, plot, resolution, etc.) and the evolution of a story.
- Games? (Of course, we love games!). I love the sound of this Nanofictionary game, which is unfortunately out of print. Until they reprint it, how about making your own preschooler version? There are other board game examples here, probably mostly suited for older kids.
Comment! Have an idea for encouraging your storytelling? Have a link to your blog or someone else's about storytelling that you want to share? Leave us a comment!
I am linking this post up with ABC and 123, Tot Tuesdays at My Delicious Ambiguity, and Red Ted Art's new Kids Get Crafty link-up.
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