This summer I’ve been asking myself how oral storytelling works in the classroom setting. Why is it important that children hear stories, not just from their parents and grandparents, but in a context where they are listening with their classmates? From my reading and reflection, I believe the experience offers:
1) Immediacy, intimacy, vulnerability. As a group, the children witness the spontaneity and authenticity of the teller. This captures the children’s interest on many levels. The storyteller makes direct eye contact with her listeners. She isn’t holding a book. She doesn’t need to turn a page. Also, she isn’t relying on any text to tell her story. She is remembering and therefore “re-living” the story as she tells it. This gives children evidence that stories live in people, not just in texts, and therefore, they too can be storytellers.