The ABCs of Oral Storytelling: An Introduction to the Storyteller’s Craft


Storytelling (as opposed to story reading) is one of the most power tools a teacher can have to engage students in the classroom. Because children love listening to stories, they often learn facts, morals and language skills better through others telling them stories. So if you have little or no experience in storytelling and wish to learn the basics, this 6-hour hands-on workshop will be an excellent introduction to this age-old craft.

Areas Covered

  • How to choose and adapt stories appropriate to your needs
  • Rehearsal skills: connecting to your chosen story, learning a story without memorisation, practising aloud
  • Bringing stories alive: developing an expressive voice and body
  • Using props: kamishibai (traditional Japanese storyboards), hand puppets, simple percussion instruments
  • Relating with your audience: Audience interaction skills, audience participation techniques (using songs/rhymes/actions)

Session 1:

  • What is a story?
  • Choosing a story
  • Learning and connecting to your story
  • Using your voice and body to bring stories alive

Session 2:

  • Using props
  • Relating to your audience
  • Putting it all together towards a final presentation

Pre-Workshop Preparation

For Participants

  • This workshop is open to participants who are fluent in English.
  • Please come dressed in loose clothing that will allow freedom of movement.

For Organisers

  • Please make available a fair-sized room that allows participants to sit preferably in a large circle and to work together in smaller groups. There should be space as well for participants to stand up and do some physical (non-strenuous) movement and for the facilitator to interact with the participants.
  • Please provide pen/pencil & paper for participants to take notes (if they require).
  • Please provide a large whiteboard and pens. Access to a computer/computer projection is welcomed, but not absolutely necessary.
  • Please make copies of handouts that will be emailed to prior to the workshop.
  • Facilitator will provide the kamishibai, hand puppets and percussion instruments.

About the Facilitator

A Singaporean writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), and three play collections, and edited various fiction anthologies, including the bestselling Balik Kampung series of short stories published by Math Paper Press. She possesses three Masters: English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993); Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2005); and Creative Writing (City University of Hong Kong, 2015). Since 2005, she has been helping people to improve their communication skills and has taught voice, speech and presentation skills, storytelling and creative writing.