As part of enrichment clusters this semester, I am working with a group of 9 kindergarten and first grade students to learn how to become storytellers. This group has been fun, but it has come with many challenges as well. Since most of these students are learning to read, they are unable to independently read most picture books or folktales. They also began as a very shy group that was soft-spoken and quiet.
Here are some things that we have tried:
- Watching videos of rambler storytellers from the Wren’s Nest and commenting on what we noticed that the storyteller did.
- Listening to stories read aloud and discussing the kinds of expression that was used.
- “Reading” a wordless picture book together very slowly and with great detail, and then working with partners to read other wordless books.
- Modeling partner reading using Mo Willems’s Elephant and Piggie books and then practicing with a partner
- Kim James from the Athens Public Library did a lap puppet show and an oral story with the students and then offered feedback as students practiced their own wordless picture book stories.
With all of these pieces, students are gaining confidence, and I’m noticing that they are developing their imagination, expression, and volume. In the coming weeks, we will practice listening to stories and drawing pictures that will be cues to help us tell the stories. In the end, the students have a goal of each telling a story at our enrichment fair in May. Wish us luck!