Storytelling

For the first time ever,  I am having children dictate stories in the classroom.  Everyday, when we sit down for our meeting, I take out the storytelling notebook and ask who would like to tell a story.  Out of the 10-12 children who at school by this time, most of them are eager to tell a story.


Some mornings get a bit hectic, and since I am alone in the preschool room most of the time, we don't always have a chance to tell stories.  But when we do, I approach the children who have signed up for storytelling and invite them to tell me their story.  I'll often ask a child who is in between activities rather than taking a child out of something they are really engaged with.


All sort of themes are shared and we touch upon just about every topic imaginable over the course of a week.  But the name of the game us typically repetition - at least right now it is.  Children tell the same stories day after day, or feature the same characters.  Take B's stories, for example.




10/30/11

Katie fell down.  And then she cried.  Then she bumped her head and then she cried.  Katie fell down.  The teacher came and she was happy!  And then she played with Chip Chip.  And then she cried.  The End.

11/2/11

Katie fell down.  And then she cried.  And then she bumped her head.  And then she cried.  And she fell down in the chair.  And then she cried.  Then she bumped her head!  And then she fell down on the chair.  The End.

11/3/11

Katie fell down.  And she bumped her head and then she cried.  And then she got up, and then she bumped her head.  And then she fell down on the chair.  And then she bumped…her…head.  And then she fell on the chair.  Then she bumped her head!  And then she cried.  Cry cry cry cry cry cry.  The End.

11/4/11

Katie fell down and she bumped her head and then she cried.  And she fell down on the chari, and then she fell down on the chair.  Then she bumped her head.  The End.

11/9/11

Katie fell down.  Mommy likes me.  And she does!  And then she bring me to school, and then she did.  The End.

11/14/11

Katie fell down and she bumped her head, and then she cried.  And then she fell down on the chair and she cried.  The End!

She continues to tell that story every time she tells me she has a story to tell. J usually tells me a story about Buzz Lightyear; G tells stories about things that happen at her house.  S retells Itchy Itchy Chicken Pox each time she dictates a story.  


What I love about storytelling this way is how children open up as they have these opportunities for oral language.  I love how excited they get when I read the stories from the day to the whole group, and the group claps for the author.


I have definitely been inspired by Vivian Gussin Paley's books, but I have not taken the plunge into the acting out of stories after they are written.  I feel like that is the next step, though.  Another way we can continue promoting storytelling is through pre-made books that children illustrate and then read to the class at a group time.  I have seen children get really into that form of storytelling, and that also promotes more mark-making, drawing, and writing.  I have documented many of the stories I've been told on video - here is one of my favorites.





It is important to remember that the children in my classroom now are significantly younger than the ones in my last class, but that makes it more exciting, perhaps - I'm not quite sure what to expect, and it is probably better that way!