How to Tell a Great Story

Tammy Jones —  September 27, 2011

Storytelling is one of my favorite ways to share a Bible story with my class. With a little practice, anyone with practice can tell a great story.  In order to tell a good story, there are three fundamental steps you need to take in order to be a good storyteller.

Know the story!

  • Read the story aloud three times.
  • Tell as much of the story as you can from memory. You don’t have to get the re-telling perfect, and you probably won’t the first time.
  • Read the story aloud again.
  • As you read, try to picture the story in your mind.
  • Divide the story into three or four scenes according to the action in the story. This step will help you remember the story better.
  • Re-tell the story again. You did better this time didn’t you?
  • If you are still having trouble try repeating this process again.

Presentation

Now that you have practiced your story and know the story well, you are ready for the next step. Presentation is a very important part of storytelling. Even if you know your story well, if you present it in a monotone and uninteresting way you will not hold the attention of your class.

  • Practice telling the story with expression.
  • Listen for the tone of your voice.
  • Your voice should rise and fall to express the emotions of the characters.
  • Put yourself in the character’s place. Would you be excited, sad, scared?
  • Be careful not to fall into a “storytellers rhythm” ending each sentence in the same tone of voice.
  • Move your body. This is where you have permission to use your hands to talk. Movement will help hold the attention of your class. Voice and movement will help the children be able to picture the story in their minds. This will help them recall the story later on and be able to answer questions.

If you know your story and can present the story well then you just need one more thing to be a great storyteller.

Props

  • The use of props in storytelling engage the audience and make the story more interesting and memorable.
  • Props can be anything. Costumes, hats, and other objects relating to the story are fun to use.
  • Try to think of props that can be used by the children during the story. For example, if you are telling the story of Jesus calming the storm, you could pass out slips of blue paper to the children.
  • Have the children wave the slips of paper in the air while you are telling  about the storm.
  • Just use your imagination and don’t be afraid to be creative. Your stories will be captivating to the minds of the children in your class. They will remember them for years to come–and that is the point to the story!

Follow these three simple steps, and you too can be a great storyteller!

Tammy Jones

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Tammy is married with two grown children and has 5 grandchildren and counting. Tammy volunteers as the Children's Minister at CoveCreek Baptist Church in Glencoe, Alabama, where she ministers to children from preschool age through sixth grade.

One response to How to Tell a Great Story

  1. Thanks for this! Story telling can be so powerful, but it takes practice. Great tips!!