I am a storytelling advocate, and I consider it my job to convince parents to make up stories and use the oral tradition as part of their parenting repertoire.
This year I’ve been working on a resource for parents to help them do this. It will include at least the following:
- Why Should Parents Tell Their Children Stories
- The Benefits of Storytelling
- Examples of Stories
- Interviews with Storytellers
- An Easy Guide On How To Tell Stories
As I’ve been brainstorming for my resource, it has occurred to me that parents will be most convinced of the power of storytelling if they hear stories from adults who are remembering the storytellers of their childhoods. This is where you come in.
- Did someone tell you stories when you were a child? How do you remember that person? Do you remember the stories, or do you remember how they made you feel? Please tell me about it.
- In addition to this, I’d like to hear from parents who are telling stories to their children now. How do you come up with your stories? When do you tell them? How do your children receive them? Please share your experiences with me.
You can leave a comment below, or you can e-mail me at shellipabis at gmail dot com. I also would appreciate it if you shared this page with your friends, especially those people that you know loves stories!
Anyone who is quoted in my book/resource will be acknowledged, and I’ll be happy to include your blog URL, if you have one.
What I can’t promise is a speedy delivery of this resource. This is my long-term project, and it’s happening in slow moving spurts as I homeschool and care for my family full-time as well as write a weekly column. If you’d like to see what I’ve already written about storytelling, you can go to my Storytelling Page.
Thank you! Together we can make the world a better place by advocating storytelling.
10 thoughts on “I Need Your Help Creating a Resource Guide on Storytelling for Parents.”
I am an elementary school teacher that was home schooled throughout my elementary and middle school years. Story telling was at the heart of all we did. It is now a past time for me and my three-year old.
I vividly remember that stories my great grandmother told me about growing up in rural Tennessee and about my great grandfather’s childhood. They are in my mind as clearly as many of the fairy tales I have read. I remember closing my eyes creating mental pictures of the places she was describing and using the pictures I’d seen of my grand father (whom I never met, but feel like i knew him). She would describe the weather and smells of the farm. She would describe her thoughts and his thoughts as she was telling the stories.
My paternal grandmother and great grandmother told us many stories about them fleeing Poland when Hitler invaded and the things they had to do to be able to work when they arrived in the US. I use many of these stories when I am teaching my students.
My son and I will make up stories about imaginary things he sees as we are driving. We will make it up and ask each other questions. We usually will retell it to my husband later. We have one that we have been working on for a week right now.
Apryl, Thank you so much for your comment and information. Would it be okay if I sent you some additional questions in the future? What a rich storytelling experience you had! By coincidence, my in-laws are from Poland. They immigrated here in the 60s. I wish I could get them to tell me more about their lives in Poland.
1. When I was a child my parents both read to me. My mom was more likely to totally make up stories. My favorites were when mom would let me name three words (for instance, a place, an animal, and a color). She would then weave these into her story.
2. As a mom, when my son (my only kid) was about 4 yo, I created a character named Samson who is surprisingly a lot like my son. Several times a week my son would ask for a Samson story. I often related them to something my son was going through or taking interest in.
My son is 9 now and doesn’t ask for Samson stories anymore. Nowadays he is more likely to ask my husband and me to tell stories about our own childhood. My husband has honed his own oral autobiography better than I have, so he gets called upon for childhood stories more often.
Jennifer, Thank you for sharing your storytelling experiences! I also made up some characters for my son – Jack and Piper – and I told stories about them living in a forest for a long time. He finally wanted me to tell a story about something else. I kind of miss Jack and Piper! He often gives me an idea for a story, which helps my tired brain tremendously!
Can you describe the feelings you felt when your mom told you a story? Do these memories hold a special place in your heart today? Where do they rank compared with other childhood memories?
You are very welcome! This topic is close to my heart!
Most of my mom’s stories were at my bedside–either when she tucked me in at night or when I was sick. Her stories, her voice as she told them, calmed my spirit, quieted my fears and made me feel like I was laying on clouds. For those minutes, everything else fell away.
Even as a child I spent so much time “in my head” which has been a blessing and a curse. One of the “cursed” aspects of that is it has often led to insomnia throughout my life. When my mom told me those stories at bedtime I could let go of those racing thoughts as I entered the world of her stories.
The memories of her storytelling do hold a special place in my heart. My bond with my mother is and always has been very precious to me. Her storytelling ranks as one of the two most important ways I felt attached to her. The other times were (and still are) when we work alongside each other. I think both aspects have in common the sense of her being *with me*, beside me, and supporting me.
Even in starting my blog a few months ago, my mother agreeing to come alongside me (committing to read every word!) was the final “oomph” I needed to begin. With her at my side I could quiet my fears and go public with my own stories, my own voice.
I was read to a lot, and went on to read a lot for myself from an early age. I remember my father reading The Hobbit to me, and also My Friend Mr Leakey – he hid the book in a different place every night. I learned later that this was something his father had done for him when reading Mr Leakey. I have fewer memories of others telling stories to me, but there are still family stories that I know, so I must have heard them at some time. We tell a lot of stories about ourselves and our families to our son, partly so he knows what we struggled with as well as what we liked, what was important to us when we were kids and so on. We have also started inventing stories more together, using Story Cubes and other prompts, which we all really enjoy. My son will sometimes also ask for ‘a story by voice’ when he knows that we have finished reading book-based stories for the night. Good luck with your project!
Alison, Thank you so much for your experiences with storytelling.
“We tell a lot of stories about ourselves and our families to our son, partly so he knows what we struggled with as well as what we liked, what was important to us when we were kids and so on.” —> This is key, I think. Children need to know who their parents are/were. It will help them navigate their own lives! Thank you for a lovely quote.
I love this topic 🙂
We read a lot to our daughters. We’re Indonesian living in Qatar. We use Indonesian books/stories to polish her Indonesian language ability and introduce her to her culture. We also tell her stories about my childhood and her daddy’s childhood and she loves it. When her grandma visited her last year, she told her stories about her childhood stories. Amazingly, my daughter still remembers it today. We now live far away from our family back home and this is very important to us as we want her to know her roots, to keep her feeling close to our family, to her homeland.
Our second daughter is 14 months old and we read her books. We know for sure that she loves books too 🙂
Thank you so much for your comment about how you use storytelling in your home. How I would love to hear some of your stories! Thank you.