Friday, March 11, 2011

March is Reading Month, Tip #11: Storytelling!


Storytelling is a fabulous way to nurture a reading and writing life! One trick that I use as a writing teacher is to tell a story across my hand, starting at my thumb. Following your five fingers across your hand naturally creates a story arc . It's such a handy trick. (Oooh- that was a bad one.)

The flexibility of telling a story across your hand is amazing: for a small child, sentences can even be broken into phrases and stretched across your hand, working up to a few sentences, and then a few paragraphs per finger. And you always have your hand with you! Also, adding to a familiar story is a great way to experience revision.

This is a little story I tell over my fingers to Claudia. (She loves stories from when she was a baby.) My thumb is number one and my pinkie is five. Telling a story across my hand helps me keep on track and follow a clear story structure.

Creaky Gran
1- We walked into the living room. Gran put out some toys.
2- Claudia and Francis sat down and played with the toy cars, rolling them on the road rug.
3- Claudia looked up at Gran with her big eyes and then tapped the floor. “Do you want me to sit down?” said Gran and then she sat down on the floor to play.
4- When it was time to get up, Gran was stuck.
5- I held her hands to pull her up off the floor and Francis pushed up her backside. “My old bones get a little creaky these days, “ said Gran.

The dinner table, waiting rooms, bedtime, and bath time are big storytelling opportunities for our family. And tonight, after the kids are in bed and Mr. TRWH has started the dishes, I will go to the Ann Arbor DIstrict library for a storytelling event: the First Story Collider Event outside of NYC! Everyone loves a good story.

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