Book Chapter: How to be a Storyteller Working with Children.
His Thoughts: I love storytelling for children and families. Most children, when they hear they are to be watching a storyteller perform, ask, “What books are you reading?” Most adults are no different in their questions. So, knowing that my work is the first introduction many people have to this classic art form is a real pleasure. It’s fun to present stories kids may already know, but in a different manner. It’s fun to introduce them to characters I hope will become new friends and, for me, it’s very fun to make the grownups present nod and laugh along the way—all while I am sending them the message that sharing stories with one another is a positive, worthwhile thing. And most days, it’s easy.
What isn’t quite as easy is telling other people how to be a storyteller. Well, at least It’s not easy to tell them how to be a professional storyteller. As with many professional storytellers or people in many different careers, I didn’t come to be where I am in a straight line. For many of us, where we end up is a gradual progression rather than a conscious decision, isn’t it? Before I was a professional storyteller in the traditional style, I was reading professionally at library-style storytimes. Before that, I was reading to children who gathered around at my child’s school as I read to him before leaving each morning. Before that, I was just reading to my child. Well before that, it was high school and college theatre. Dare we try to take it back even further to watching and cocking my head as a child to the “Fractured Fairy Tales” during television reruns of “Rocky & Bullwinkle?”
So I can look backwards and think, “Oh this helped or that led to this,” but now I’m trying to give the benefit of my experience to those seeking to pursue storytelling in a more linear fashion. On the other hand, I’ll bet a bulk of the folks looking to share wonderful stories with children & families have plenty of experience as teachers, or performers, or parent or, for some, all three!
But as a Bullwinkle fan, I’ll always be two steps ahead of the game.
John Weaver is a parent, performer and Early-Childhood Educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through his energetic, interactive, humor-filled performances, John aims to capture the attention and imagination of all ages, to educate, and to encourage children and families to continue the adventure at home by reading together. Visit Storyteller John Weaver online at www.storytellerjohnweaver.com.
Enjoy John’s video as demonstrates how to be an effective storyteller with children and kids: