Storytelling: a fun way to practice public speaking

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Looking for a fun way to foster public speaking skills in your upper elementary school students? Try introducing a storytelling project!

How it works:

  • Set aside about a week for this project.
  • After listening to you model a retelling of a popular story using expression and simple props, the students each pick a different favorite children’s story or fairy tale. (For a great list of download-able fairy tales, check out this site).
  • As a class, brainstorm the elements of good storytelling (eye contact with audience, props, hand motions, expressive voice, etc.)
  • Students begin learning their own story by memory, first by rewriting the story onto paper and then by making note cards about the story’s main ideas.
  • Students gather simple props and practice telling their story to a partner, using this evaluative form (click here to download) to provide constructive feedback to each other.
  • Then, have your students tell their story to the whole class.
  • On the final day of the project, have your students perform their stories either for an audience of parents or for a class of younger children. First-graders LOVE to be the audience for this project!
  • Use this rubric (click here to download) to evaluate students.

Students love getting to work with their favorite childhood stories, and storytelling puts a fun spin on traditional public speaking/oral reading assignments. The key is to model it first, discuss elements of effective storytelling, and provide plenty of opportunities to practice before the final performance day.

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3 responses to “Storytelling: a fun way to practice public speaking

  1. Tina Ruzicka

    I love the idea of this because some students get really nervous in front of a group. It’s like explaining instead telling. Props help the student to not feel that it’s just them in front of the class and the more they do these kind of things the more comfortable they become.

  2. Pingback: Storytelling: a fun way to practice public speaking – Pivotal Kids

  3. R. Newton

    I think this is a superb idea!! It gives the child much-needed confidence in the area of expressing himself/herself, and getting over stage fright before an audience. I’d love to see my child have this assignment!