Last time, I threw drama into the mix to help kids connect emotionally to their own learning. As we think deeper about how important this connection is, researchers report that storytelling offers a unique opportunity for kids to grow their emotional intelligence quotient.
Like drama, storytelling involves kids in several aspects of learning that help them connect parts of their real lives to stories—stories with many different kinds of characters from various cultures and locations. Each character has a point of view in a story, and it is exciting when kids learn how to analyze a story character and add a bit of their own personality to the interpretation.
When you teach children how to tell a story with appropriate characterization and a point of view, they naturally evolve in areas like self-awareness, cultural awareness, and insights into universal life experiences. What an important way to help students explore their own cultural roots, traditions, and values! Just grappling with these ideas can help kids find their place in the world.
To get kids started with storytelling, provide several options for them. They can read through several books, magazines, or plays to find one they want to develop into a storytelling performance piece. Click on the link at the end of this post to get some great ideas.
After your student selects a story, discuss the following presentation points:
1. Vocal Pitch
Help the storyteller understand how to vary vocal pitch, tempo, and volume to make characters come alive in a story.
Emphasize moments of silence and dramatic pauses to get a character’s point of view across.
Demonstrate for the storyteller how to use different exaggerated voices for the characters. Have the storyteller create a strong “narrator’s” voice that will remain consistent throughout the story.
2. Body Language
Demonstrate how common gestures and body language, stance, and movement help differentiate one character from another in stories.
Show how certain types of body movements create emotional responses in the audience.
Show storytellers how to use “stage” space effectively, using an entire area.
Give storytellers many opportunities to practice pantomiming specific activities related to a character.
Storytelling Resources: A popular children’s author, Aaron Shepard, publishes an excellent site for storytelling ideas. Check it out here.
Please visit again soon for my next post, where I will explore how role modeling can further your quest to promote emotional intelligence in kids. (This post is part of a series on Emotional Intelligence. To start at the beginning, click here.)