Halloween: Lessons in Storytelling
October 24, 2011 ~
Telling ghost stories is an essential Halloween activity. Use this spooky holiday’s storytelling tradition as an opportunity to practice good communication skills and let every member of the family tell a creative story.
The Importance of Storytelling
Storytelling is one of humankind’s oldest traditions and fundamentally shapes how we view the world. Sharing stories kept the past alive for generations before the written word was developed. Storytelling is the foundation for why we write, make movies and even use social media. We all have a story to share. When you encourage your child to share his or her own story or to use imagination to create one, you are encouraging an essential communication skill. Storytelling is essential to the holiday season, and Halloween is an especially active time for the creative side of the art form.
It Starts With You
What was your favorite ghost story as a kid? Did you sit around a fire and tell spooky stories at camp or share tales of monsters with your siblings before bed? Was there a scary TV show or book that you loved growing up? Draw upon your own memories and traditions, and share your personal story with your family. Get everyone in the spirit of the holiday by sharing your childhood memories and retelling your favorite tales. You will find that storytelling is the perfect opportunity to bond with your family while modeling communication skills in a fun way.
Engaging Your Child
Once you have set the stage, it’s time to get your child involved. Ask him or her to think about a favorite spooky book. Kumon’s Recommended Reading List has great, spooky classics from “Bunnicula” to “Hamlet.” Once the perfect book has been selected, ask your child either to retell the story or create an entirely new story with the characters.
If there are enough members in your family, you could even play a game of communal storytelling to show how everyone’s unique perspective can change a story over time. One person can start by setting the scene, and the next can build on the story from there. Keep going until everyone has added to the story at least three times. The results will likely be hilarious!
Tips for Bringing Stories to Life
Now that you have ideas to get your family sharing stories, here are four tips for bringing those stories to life:
- Have a beginning, middle and end. A strong narrative structure will help listeners follow along and stay engaged.
- Remember the details. Describe the characters and settings in as much detail as you can. It’s a great exercise to develop communication skills, descriptive language and visual literacy.
- Be confident. Make eye contact, project your voice and animate your body. All of these actions will show that you are confident and keep your audience on the edge of their seats.
- Relax and have fun! Take a deep breath and just have fun with it.