Saturday, February 21, 2015

Preschool Story Time - Classic Tales & Storytelling Techniques

Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Fables are fantastic fodder for story time from preschool through early school age kids.  This is because they have been told, retold, modified and embellished for generations.  Most kids know the big ones - Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and maybe even Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  They have their own ideas of how they 'should' be told and are quite outspoken if you do not tell it the way they are used to.  For me, that makes it fun!  There are so many fractured fairy tales now that one could do an entire lesson on them.  My "In the Bag" story time for school age visitors is on fractured fairy tales and the kids love it.  For this edition, I took classic folk tales and told them using three different techniques for story telling.  This took more planning than most story times, but it was worth the effort!

** Note that for this story time, I had loads of different versions of these books on display for check out.  There are so many different versions, so I suggest you finding your favorites - whether told by using the picture book, in felt, or by heart - because your love of what you are doing is what will shine through.

The Three Little Pigs - Told as a felt story.
One of my first and most favorite sets, I believe this is one that every story teller needs to have in their collection.  Click HERE for more on this felt set.
This was great fun to tell with felt.  Now, a little disclaimer that I had decided that 'no one in Miss Sue's story times dies'....after I had one little heckler telling me that I wasn't telling the story right.  So in the end, my wolf just ran away screaming with the pigs safely giggling at home.  A couple parents appreciated the comical ending, but it was really funny to see how far that little heckler would take her opinions on how the story should go!

Action Rhyme - Everyone stand up for squats!!  OK, I am kidding, but we did do this chant a few times going faster and faster and faster - what a workout!

The Grand Old Duke of York
The Grand old duke of York (march)
Had ten thousand men. (show 10 fingers)
He marched them up the hill (march)
And he marched them down again.
And when they’re up, they’re up. (Stand Up on tiptoe)
And when they’re down, they’re down. (crouch way down)
When they are only half way up,  (crouch) they’re neither up (stand) nor down! (sit)

The Little Red Hen - Told via picture book.
I do love the story of the Little Red Hen!  The thing about these classic tales is, once you start telling them, you can almost hear your own mom or dad and how they read it to you.  It all comes back to you, and it did for me as I read "Not I!!"  After the first round of the animals turning down the Red Hen, the kids had caught on and shouted "Not I!" with me.  So fun!

Nursery Rhymes work well in this kind of story time.  Some people don't like them.  I do for a couple of reasons.  One is they are familiar and repetitive.  Children are learning language through patterns at this age and latch on to nursery rhymes for this reason.  Another reason is that preschoolers are learning unfamiliar words through rhyme.  They are opening up their vocabularies. You are introducing words they may not get in normal conversation and that is a very good thing.   Finally preschoolers are developing their little egos are feel very proud and excited when they recognize a rhyme and can repeat it back.  They think "whoa!  I got this!" and that is a cool thing to see on their faces.

With that in mind, here are some of Library Village's resources for Nursery Rhymes.
Our FELT sets are HERE for the SHEEP Rhymes, and HERE for Kristie's HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE set.  Then you can click HERE for a bunch of blog posts on various uses for Nursery Rhymes.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff - Told orally, using large cutouts
This was where the bulk of my prep-time went.  I created a bulletin board behind me to look just like the illustrations in this book.  I had the fields, the goats, the bridge and the troll in larger-than-life format behind me as I proceeded through story time.  For our finale, I pulled out all of my best story telling techniques and told this story off-book.  This was one of my own kids' favorites, so after reading it so many times to them I had it down.

Another disclaimer - I think I must be really good at troll voices, because I scared the pants off some of the more sensitive kids.  I toned it down and kept the troll hidden for a lot of the story.  I also stopped and whispered to the little fella "I'll tell you a secret - the goats win in the end!"  Lesson learned as I think this one in full voice might be better for the older preschool crowd, or at least to get to know my audience better before pulling out the scarier stories!

Here is what my bulletin board and story time area looked like that day:
You can see my 3 Little Pigs felt set, my Good Morning Weather felts (which later became my Weather Bear), and the bulletin board.  The Troll is hiding in my bin.  On my cart, I had my Big Fat Hen puppet for more nursery rhyme run.

And here is a closeup of the 3 Goats.  The artwork is right out of the book.

Craft - 3 Billy Goats Gruff puppets
If you may have noticed, I am a huge fan of story re-telling. I give out a parent newsletter with our rhymes and books, I have many books on display, and many of the crafts I select are designed so the child can go home and retell the story to their siblings or stuffed animals.  We do a lot of puppets in story time - here is my goat puppet!  Simply a white bag, goat head cut outs, snipped yarn, and markers make this craft.

No matter how you tell stories - through felt sets, via picture book, orally, with puppets, or through song, story times need to come from the heart...YOUR HEART.  I enjoy telling stories through lots of techniques, and I hope my love of story telling shines through to my preschool kids and their families.  I hope you enjoyed this story time.  This was the one my boss attended for my performance review and I am happy to report that she was as pleased with the results as I was.  Thanks for stopping by!!

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