Exercise

Practice telling a story of something that occurred during your day, whether it was an experience from which you learned something, an incident that was humorous, or something you want to share with a special person.

Listen to the stories that other people tell about their day-to-day experiences. Observe particularly how children use stories. If you have children in your life, ask them about their day, and listen to the stories that they tell and how they communicate the things that are important.

2. Use Your Own Enthusiasm Rather Than Techniques

If you are going to tell stories, make it fun. Kids love stories, they are a great audience, and it is easy with such enthusiastic and relatively uncritical listeners to make it an enjoyable process, both for you and for them. Start by telling stories that you get pleasure in telling. Do not concern yourselfso much with the techniques or steps for storytelling but simply use the most important ingredient: your own enthusiasm—the sort of story that begins "Wow, you wouldn't believe what happened to me today." It is this enthusiasm that adds the mood or feeling to the story. It is what gives it its spontaneity and life. It is what captures and holds the listener's attention.

Let your stories express what you want to say with enthusiasm, enjoyment, and reality, rather than focusing on the techniques of how they are told at this stage. The techniques you can learn and

polish as you continue to build your storytelling abilities. Right now it might be helpful to select a story that you enjoy—whether one from your own experience, something you have read in a book, or a tale you have heard from another person. Tell it to some children of different ages, different genders, and different interests. How is the story received? What do your listeners respond to? Are they responding to your techniques or simply your enthusiasm?

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