Learning to tell stories... need help... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-04-2011, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I have an 17 month old and one on the way.  We are mostly TV free, unless there is an afternoon Packer Game on and I watch the morning news sometimes while I straighten up the bedrooms.  She loves books and flipping through the pages.  Most of the time I don't even read the stories, I'll just make something up or quack like a duck or something. 


But this year I really want to learn to tell stories.  I'm a creative person, I sing songs and engage her much of the day but for some reason I draw a complete blank when trying to think of a story to tell her.


Any ideas on how I can get over this road block, or story's for beginners like me that might help me feel more comfortable spouting off stories while I'm doing dishes, or we are playing together?  How did you all learn to be a story teller and rely less on books?

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#2 of 12 Old 01-04-2011, 08:34 AM
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Tell stories about every day events.  So easy!  Did you go to the grocery earlier in the week?  Tell a simple story about a child who goes to the grocery with their mama and gets to pick out fruit.  For your lo's age short and sweet is best.  Hope that helps!

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#3 of 12 Old 01-04-2011, 08:35 AM
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Its all about having an outline.  Seriously!  If you can remember the bare bones of a tale you can fill in the rest with whatever you imagine. 


Also what helps me remember is to see the story in my mind (in pictures...like a movie).  I am a history teacher and when I lecture all I have is about a one-page outline and I'm good for about an hour with this method.  Plus it makes for a much more interesting story. 


If you are a visual learner associating a story with a picture of a place, or a place you are familiar with also makes it stick in your head like nobody's business.  Place the action in your back yard and in your mind see it happen there.  You'll remember it.  Watch out for ghost stories!



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#4 of 12 Old 01-04-2011, 07:12 PM
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My friend has been enjoying this book:



Emily, cooking allergen free, knitting, reading, gardening Mom to 1 beautiful girl, born in the water on July 1, 2006 Wife to 1 handsome man since September 10, 2005
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#5 of 12 Old 01-16-2011, 05:28 PM
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I have a real interest in storytelling, but I guess thats not surprising since I'm also a drama teacher! LOL

With Waldorf values in mind, storytelling can very much be a model for how we are ideally supposed to be around children all of the time;

going about our day, doing what we do, with love and joy and purpose. 
I was told that we should tell a story, not just from "memory" but as if it is a vision you are relaying...and it simply rolls out to the children.  When you truly know a story and it's in your bones, you can do this with ease. 


What the previous posters wrote is a GREAT start, and certainly for a young child like you have.  My 3 year old son still loves when I make any old thing into a story or song. 


If you want to challenge yourself, find a story for young children that you LOVE...and really feel a connection to...then learn it.  Learn the words, learn the whole purpose and really tap into it's higher meaning...then you can tell it with ease and with intention. 


Mother of 2 boys, new little one on the way
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#6 of 12 Old 01-19-2011, 05:23 PM
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For this age, I have seen recommended stories about animals that the child can identify with - that are in the child's experience or surroundings. The swallows building their nests of mud under the eaves, the lizard baking in the sun, stories in the here and now. I struggle with this too, and the older my DS1 gests the harder it is to make stories satisfying. Now is a great time to start - get used to it now so that as they get older you just have to adjust for their age. There are  books on this - one I would like to buy is: http://healingthroughstories.blogspot.com/


Heaven on Earth has a chapter titled The wonder of stories. Must re-read it.

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#7 of 12 Old 01-27-2011, 11:45 AM
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stories about everyday ("transition songs" and nursery rhymes) and stories about what is familiar to you. It you were looking for more information, I believe that earthschooling has a video on storytelling. We received Juniper Tree Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals by Suzanne Down and I wish I had it years ago. There are 42 animal patterns and a short verse for each, it is a wonderful resource.

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#8 of 12 Old 01-27-2011, 02:58 PM
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I like listening to a storyteller I loved.  It helped me find the storyteller in me.  I borrowed some audio cd's of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who wrote Women Who Run With the Wolves and is a very enchanting storyteller of short stories for adults and especially women.  I think the last one I listened to was called "Warming the Stone Child".  


And I second the Healing Stories Book.


And then, when I am rocking in the rocking chair as they fall asleep, I think up little ways to tell stories.  I think of what they really need, which at your daughter's age is really just acknowledgement of what she does and what happens around her- and make it interesting with a phrase that repeats or rhymes or telling it from a little animal's perspective.


Hope this helps?

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#9 of 12 Old 01-29-2011, 09:22 PM
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Here is one thing we did this week with storytelling that was easy and fun--it's making "moving pictures" from our wet-on-wet paintings.  Our stories were simple but lots of fun.  Here's an excerpt for ideas: http://canticlesbycandlelight.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/whoa-it-moved-it-really-moved/ 

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#10 of 12 Old 01-31-2011, 09:26 AM
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I have that book and it's great.


I tell stories about our day. Very simple. My twenty-seven month old loves it. "Once upon a time there was a little boy named LO. Every morning he woke up and thought about what he wanted for breakfast. One day he decided he wanted french toast...."


I'll be relying on that book though when I need to get more sophisticated. My mother told me stories when I was little girl and I cherish those memories. I think I remember every single "Rachel" story she ever told (Rachel was a little girl modeled after me that went on crazy adventures to places like the moon and conquered dragons and such). I'm determined to get that good.

Mother to L.O. born at home 10.17.08 EDD for #2 4.21.2011
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#11 of 12 Old 01-31-2011, 06:26 PM
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We are not an official Waldorf family but we got to the Waldorf school Toddler and me once a week and he doesn't watch TV, and we are trying to apply much of the philosophy to his toys, outdoor experiences etc. One area where I guess I differ is that I have been reading to my son, who is now 16 months old, since he was about three months old. I do NOT want him to read early,to the contrary, but he loves being read to and "reading" books himself, which is basically looking at the pictures. He doesn't engage in the words  yet which is good. He will sit still for a couple of favorite longer books like Curious George and Caps for Sale....that's just his way. We read a few books at night before bed and in the morning, we snuggle in my bed and read a ton of books before breakfast. That said....I would like to incorporate storytelling, but when I try I feel as if Im not good at it, and that he's either bored with my ineptitude or that he's now used to hearing stories from books. He loves finger play and songs/rhymes, but I just haven't gotten the hang of storytelling. Maybe he's a bit young, but I'm glad this question was posted and look forward to many suggestions (will get that book) and advice.

All good things.

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#12 of 12 Old 02-22-2011, 11:30 PM
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When I tell stories to my boys I always start with the same intro : Have you heard of the 3 cowboy brothers? I pause and they now know to answer - who? then I say their full names, our address starting from the house to the country...I say that they lived in the great state of California by the majestic Pacific Ocean and etc. Then I talk about their horses - always the same description and the names of the horses...and then the story begins. they usually want me to come up with the situation ( let's say a little hen was in trouble because a fox wanted to eat it) and then we hear the hen calling the cowboys and we find them doing various activities (here insert a recent activity you did together - a walk, whale watching, hiking and etc.) and the cowboys either ride the horses, or dive (if a baby clown fish is in trouble for example) and so on...sometimes when I get stuck I take a long pause and they chime in or I ask " And do you know what cowboy Alexander did?" sometimes they tell me and sometimes they say "No. What did he do?" and it is back in my court :-) I find it that you don't have to tell all kinds of different stories - the kids like the similarities. I remember as a child my grandpa always told me stories about WWII and I loved hearing some of them over and over and over again over the years...just relax and enjoy the story...especially at this young age they don't have to make a whole lot of sense....good luck

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