30th January-5th February 2023 is National Storytelling Week. This week-long celebration of the power of stories is managed by The Literacy Trust and is a fantastic chance to share a love of storytelling with young people. To help inspire your class, we’ve put together some fun and simple activity ideas.
The Benefits of Storytelling for Young People
Storytelling is an ancient art which transcends cultures, and helps us to make sense of the world. Storytelling also has a range of benefits including:
Listening to stories helps us to relax.
Stories help children to learn, and discover new ideas, scenarios, and situations.
Storytelling supports children to develop empathy and social skills. When we tell stories, and listen to them, our brains release oxytocin which is the hormone responsible for social bonding.
Hearing stories supports children to develop key literacy skills, which supports their learning across the board.
Storytelling develops imagination, reasoning, and critical thinking skills.
Classroom Storytelling Activities
Make a storytelling box: Put several random objects into a box (e.g. a calculator, some string, and a flower) and challenge your class to come up with a story which incorporates all elements.
Try some Flash Fiction: Flash fiction are very short stories, sometimes as sparse as 100 words. They’re a brilliant way to learn about the fundamentals of storytelling but don’t take too long.
Try a Podcast: Download a story podcast and sit back to enjoy the experience of sharing in the action together.
Make a story as a group: Put some story starters into three different jars (for character, setting, situation) and have the class take turns to choose one of each. Then everyone has ten minutes to make up a short story. This could be written down, drawn, or even sung, depending on your student’s preference.
(Options could include: 1. Character: teacher, zookeeper, princess, robot; 2. Setting: seaside, spaceship, hospital, museum; 3. Situation: lost their elephant, got covered in gravy, ate a magic strawberry, found a treasure map.)
You can visit the National Storytelling Week website to find information and resources: https://literacytrust.org.uk/