Teaching With Joy

October 2002


Using Storytelling in the Classroom
by Joy Jones

      Ah... the pleasure of having Mommy or Daddy read you a story at bedtime.  Or perhaps you were the Mommy or Daddy sharing a story with your little one just before she went to sleep.  Stories are magical - and practical.  Storytelling is not just good for bedtime but can be useful during class time too - and not just for the kindergarten set, either.  Teachers can use the magic of storytelling to help students improve writing skills or increase literacy.  Iím often invited to lead writing workshops or to talk to students about the benefits of reading.  When Iím gone, however, itís up to the regular classroom teacher to keep that interest going.  What follows are some ideas for helping to make writing and reading more exciting.

For more compelling storytelling:

Before the story:
- practice reading it aloud
- look for connections to other subjects
- compose thought-provoking questions

Telling the story
- be lively!
- vary your gestures, movements and voice
- add music or singing, where possible
- allow students to act out parts of the story
- have students write based on themes or lessons learned from the story.

- invite a storyteller to class (this can be a parent or staff member)
- have students conduct oral histories
- let students create their own stories, then have them read aloud.


Joy Jones is a third generation teacher, a playwright and the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear, the acclaimed childrenís book, Tambourine Moon, and Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.  You may view her web site at: www.JoyJonesOnline.com.






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