Make your sto­ry­telling ses­sions in­ter­est­ing

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - PARENTING - By EllEN WHyTE

MY teacher at kinder­garten used to bore me when she read to us dur­ing story time. She read the tale cor­rectly, not miss­ing a word, and paus­ing for ev­ery comma with pro­fes­sional pre­ci­sion, but ab­so­lutely with­out life.

A year later, in the sec­ond year of kinder­garten, we were read to by Mrs Schaap.

She raced through some parts, slowed up for oth­ers and I’m sure she skipped bits, but man, could she tell a story!

Malaysia has an amaz­ing his­tory of sto­ry­telling: if you go to the long­houses in Sarawak, the old folks can tell you tales that have been handed down for gen­er­a­tions. Like Mrs Schaap, they are adept at cap­ti­vat­ing their au­di­ence.

How­ever, as we have ac­cess to sto­ries told by pro­fes­sional ac­tors on ra­dio, tele­vi­sion, and DVDs, those of us who are younger tend not to have learned the art. When it comes to cul­ti­vat­ing the kids to take up read­ing as a hobby, get­ting our in­ner racon­teur up to speed can be a prob­lem.

When you’re read­ing to the kids, here are some tips:

1) Know the story. All ac­tors re­hearse their lines, so pre-read the tale, and get a feel of where there’s drama, hap­pi­ness, etc.

2) For­get your dig­nity. Drop the sen­si­ble, ra­tional adult im­age; this is your chance to be a whale, a pixie or a princess

3) Main­tain good eye con­tact when read­ing so you can mon­i­tor what works and what does not.

4) Go for fancy tricks. Give char­ac­ters dif­fer­ent voices or ac­cents. Dan­ger­ous gi­ants have deep voices; elves have tiny ones. And don’t for­get to frown when char­ac­ters are puz­zled or to squeal when they are happy.

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