The Audience
In order to tell stories to children several factors should be in place.
· Know children: how they develop, how they change, what they are learning in school and what interests them.
· Revisit your childhood. Go back in memory and walk into your room, taste your favorite things, run down the street as you hurried to a friend’s house…some things never change. As you discover those “universal” elements you will be well on your way to being able to recognize timeless elements for use in your stories.

The Story
In order to be a storyteller you must have a story. The story you tell can be a family story, a familiar folktale, a classic myth, or a page out of history. Regardless of the type of story chosen for telling the key is to remember two important facts.
The story must be appropriate to the age and develop of the children in the audience. It must also be a story you can really enjoy telling because children can see through half-hearted interest and lazy telling.
What kind of stories can be told to children?
· Myths
· Fables
· Folklore
· Tall tales
· Family Stories
· Historical tales
· Nursery rhymes
· Religious tales
Where can a storyteller find an audience?
· Schools
· Churches
· Camps
· Festivals
· Hospitals
· Nursing Homes
· Local clubs
· Hotels
· Luncheons
· Historical associations
· Park programs
· Conventions
· Senior citizens centers
· Fundraisers
· Local special events

As you begin the process of learning and practicing the story it is important to keep in mind the role that such things as vocabulary, diction, and timing play in telling a story.

Vocabulary: How easy to understand are the words? If unique terms are used are they adequately explained?

Diction: How clearly are you speaking? Are you understood as you tell by people listening at the back of the room?

Timing: Do you tend to gallop through what you say in a breathless fashion because of nervousness or fright? Are you telling stories like they were “fast food” when what you really need is a sit down meal with pauses between the courses?

All of these can be dealt with by taping yourself, judging listener response, and taking a deep breath to steady yourself as you perform.

The Event
Children can be noisy, have a short attention span, and be easily distracted combining to cause a storyteller to swear never to tell to anyone under 20 ever again! On top of those normal childhood conditions there is the culture which has trained us to 60-second commercials, big productions, and dizzying special effects.
The storyteller can feel they are too simple to really appeal to children, however, these elements can be turned to the teller’s advantage. Some stories are very short and as you may have read a collection you discarded one or two because they were too short for telling to an adult audience. Look at these again to see if they can be adapted to the shorter story times required for younger children.
Some ways to get and keep attention (try some on for size):
· Costume
· Storytelling clothing (hat, vest, cane, glasses, etc.)
· Listener contract (spell out expectations on attention, noise, etc. up front)
· Opening ritual (candle, gather in story place, song, spiral dance, poem, fingerplays, etc.)
· Lively presentation with varied speech levels.
· Audience participation

The Recovery

You successfully made your appearance telling stories to your audience. You may have been embarrassed, you may have been elated, and you may have been sure you could never do that again in a million years. If you are a storyteller you will be telling again and as soon as you can. The post-event period is very important to improving your presentation. It requires assessing what worked, what was awkward, and what seemed to really make the time fly while you had real fun telling your story or stories.

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