Storytelling for Christmas

Day 9 of our Advent Blogging extravaganza…

Today I had to leave behind the security of a book.

It was Year 1’s story time session and they wanted to hear Beauty and the Beast – which we are seeing next week at the Oxford Playhouse for the school’s annual panto visit. We thought it would be good to familiarize them with the story before they saw the production, although many of the children piped up that they had seen the Disney film so knew the plot anyway.

Image courtesy of, by Korky Paul

Oddly enough, we didn’t have a copy of that tale in the library, despite numerous collections of fairy tales. So I agreed to do a session of storytelling, rather than holding up a picture book as a prop.

It was quite an experience for all of us. The children frowned, puzzled, and asked me where my book was, and where were the pictures? I told them that, lacking a book, we were all going to create pictures in our minds which is even more exciting. Luckily the weekend before I had been shopping to decorate the library in a Christmassy way, and bought a decorated lantern, containing a fake flickering candle. I ‘lit’ this, dimmed the lights and began.

I had suggested that the children might like to close their eyes to fully recreate the story in their mind’s eye, and many did. The look of intense concentration on their faces was quite sweet! I was nervous that I would forget the story, and I only had less than half a voice because of a bad cough and cold, but they listened quietly and did really seem enchanted by the tale. I had worried that the lack of pictures would be a large hurdle to overcome but they participated happily and well and we had a great session. I must do it again some time!

Have you done storytelling? How was the experience for you? Do you have any good tips or suggestions for stories?


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