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Storytelling is a fantastic way to teach children about public speaking, characterization, plot, and more. Here are some ideas to help you complete a unit on storytelling with your homeschooler. Have your child or your cooperative class study the art of storytelling, and complete all or several of the activities below:

1. Learn about how to tell stories, using inflection, character voices and tone.
A wonderful book is The Storyteller's Start-Up Book: Finding, Learning, Performing and Using Folktales by Margaret Read MacDonald.

2. Create a "radio"/ audio or video show, telling or retelling a story. This could also be an ongoing project. Use a tape recorder or video recorder for rehearsals so that students can hear how/see the program will sound.

3. Put together and tell a puzzle story aloud. First you will need to copy or write a folktale and cut it up into sections. Paste each section on a separate index card. Give out the cards to your homeschool class and let them know they will each prepare to retell their small piece of the whole story. Assemble the story first by having each student retell his or her part in the plot's sequence. Have the children keep the flow going as the story is told so that the performance moves along, just as though one person were telling it.

4. Present an autobiography of an object! Give each student a random object, such as a paper clip, pencil, marker, etc. and have him or her tell the class a short story about their life (as the object). Be sure to encourage your homeschool class members to speak in first person, too.

5. Learn about Animals, Myths and Legends, and then plan several to retell individually or in groups. A great website for these tales is www.planetozkids.com/oban/legends.htm

6. Brainstorm a list of possible plots for creative stories to tell. Ideas include a character doing any of the following:

Seeing or hearing a secret
Being under a spell or curse
Going to a whimsical place
Needing to escape or hide
Needing to rescue someone or something

7. Learn by example with the dvd The Write Stuff: Authors Share Their Secrets- Storytelling with Master Storyteller Jeff Gere. This informative and enthralling dvd set will add a comprehensive base to your studies.

8. Use a proverb to spawn a story telling class. Try one of the proverbs below, or find a one unique to your curriculum.

It takes a village to raise a child.
Haste makes waste.
To hide one lie, a thousand lies are needed.

9. Glean a comprehensive resource list of storytelling terms and ideas at Tim Sheppard’s Storytelling Resources for Storytellers

10. Have fun and be flexible- you never know how long, complicated or amazing your homeschooler's stories can be!

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