It’s National Storytelling Week (Jan 31st to Feb 7th 2015) so why not mark this event with your class by settling down with a book and reading them a story that will really capture their interest? As I’m sure you all know, not all books work for reading aloud (the majority of graphic novels for instance and picture books which rely heavily on visual cues) but there are so many that just seem to come into their own when read aloud by an enthusiastic storyteller.
Look for points in the story where you can change the tone of your voice such as dropping your tone in scary parts and raising it during happy moments. Use you voice to differentiate between characters – a screechy witch or a booming giant for example. Consider the pace of the story – speed up your reading for exciting action parts and then slow it down and use pauses for sad or poignant moments, or to indictate a section or message that you particularly want the children to heed.
Children don’t pick up the nuances in stories as well as adults so use facial expression to help them follow the story or to indicate humorous sections. Smiling in happy parts, for example, will act as a visual clue for children. Using funny or scary faces for certain characters will help them follow the switches between characters in the story. Really exaggerate your expressions and don’t be afraid to be silly.
3. Posture and Movement
Your posture should be confident. Sit (or stand) up straight and maintain eye contact with your listeners throughout the story. Don’t be afraid to move about or use your arms to emphasise the story. You could march up and down to indicate soldiers, prowl around like a tiger, or cower during scary bits. Being entertaining will not only ensure you hold the children’s attention, but will also really bring the story alive for them.
OK, lesson over and on to the books:
Great books to read aloud
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Burglar Bill by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
Look Back! by Trish Cooke
Oliver Who Travelled Far and Wide by Mara Bergman
Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
Aesop’s Fables by Beverley Naidoo
Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham
The Thousand Nights and One Night retold by David Walser
The Adventures of Odysseus retold by Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden
Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chris Riddell
Horrid Henry’s Big Bad Book by Francesca Simon
The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Little Old Mrs Pepperpot by Alf Proysen
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
The Ransom of Dond by Siobhan Dowd
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton
Varjak Paw by S.F. Said
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
The Booktrust also has a list of recommended read-aloud stories and poems which you can access here.
I’m sure you have all had experience with a story that has worked well for you. Share it with your fellow students by adding a comment below.