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How and Whys of story telling

Updated on July 18, 2011

Necessity of story telling

It is the experience of all parents that their children plead them for stories. Every new story creates a shining smile on their faces. Children love those teachers very much who could provide them with ample stories and sports. Both these are like unending mines, with immence educative values.

It is for this reason, many religious leaders like Mahaveera, Budhha, Jesus, porphet Muhammad etc, used number of stories to effectively communicate their philosophies. But in these modern days, idiot box called T V has engaged us more than anything else, and we are not finding time to tell stories to our children.

Mrs. Malavika Kapoor, the psychiatrist and daughter of Dr. Shivarama karanth-the renowned literetteur from karnataka, told in an interview -"When we were children,our papa used to tell stories to us everynight, no matter how much tired he was. It was so enjoyable for us that everyday we would be waiting for papa's story time." This lady was more than sixty when she narrated this. That means, stories heard in the childhood will remain as sweet experience even at that age.

I started telling stories to my little son Akshar Prasad soon after his second year is completed.In the beginning, I created stories for him.I produced short and simple stories then.Those had animals, naughty boys and good boys, kings and queens-as their characters.I used to repeat the same story often so that he could remember the content and syntax. I used to question him on the story during my telling,to force him to repeat what he had heard. This had two purposes.-to improve his speech and his vocabulary.As I encouraged him to tell stories,it improved his expressions-both verbal and non-verbal.

For one year,I never bothered about th moral values in stories. But I cared that immoral things do not creep in.Entertainment and adventures got priority in stories I narrated. Morals used to appear in these stories in a natural way. Stories from Panchatantra, simplified versions of Guilliver's traels and Sindabad's adventures, and so many were fed to him.

It created a wonderful impact. Akshar,who was speaking only a few words at two, became an untiring speaker within next one year.Within next six months, he was creating his own stories( ofcourse, without any logic).Befpre entering U.K.G. he got first prize in mono-acting competition at town-level, competing with boys upto 8 years of age. My hypothesis proved right.

An incident provoked me to develop this habit of story telling seriously.

One morning, Akshar was enjoying his sweet sleep as usual. But we had to wake him up, bathe him, and move out, I lullingly took him up, partly awaking him and took hom to bath room.When I made him to stand on the stool there, even without opening his eyes, he muttered..."papa...."

"Yes....."- I enquired.

"Tell me a story........"he pleaded musically.

I was wonderstruck!Whether stories are inevitable for these kids?Do they fulfill their desires so much? How much emotional hunger they have for stories!

Till then, story telling was an occassional practice for me.From that day, I made it a regular habit.

After my son reached four, I started telling him shorter versions of mythological stories which would interest him.Stories of Shibi the king, Jeemoothavahana( these were ready to sacrifice their lives for animals), Harishchandra(who never gave up telling truth), boyhood stories of Mahatma Gandhiji, etc.

This habit is still continuing and length and complexity of stories are increasing along with time.It will continue ao long he needs it.

Why tell stories?My experience points out the following advantages:

1They feed the emotional hunger of children.

2 They open a world of wonders to childre.

3 They boost up their imagination

4 It improves their creativity.Same story could be told in different tone each time.

5 It develops their vocabulary.

6 It fixes structures and sentence patterns in listener's mind.

7 It provides good model for imitating facial expressions.

8 It creates a 'non-physical theatre' in listener's mind.

9 It introduces them to the wonderful world of epics andmythologies.

10 It builds in them, a value system.

But these benefits cannot be achieved if stories are told in a routine manner. There are some 'Do's and 'Don't' to be followed while telling a story.

How to tell a story?

Some tips are the following:

1. Choose the story to suit the age of the child:Example-Children from 2-4 years of age love to hear about animals, seas, voyages, etc.So, let there be- rabbits, lions, snakes, tigers, thieves, etc,kings&queens etc, in their stories.

2 Entertain first, advise next: the beginiDon't be tempted to fill the moral or ethics in stories from ng itself.Let it come on its own way.

3Shorter in the begining,longer later: To childre between 2-3 years, story must be ending within 5-6 minutes.At any stage, see that the story ends latest by 15 minutes.Neither you can speak for more time, nor your child can remember the details.

4 Mind the language: To little children who are Yet to learn clear speech,use known words more,mixing new words to some extent.Same words and sentences should be repeated. That fixes words, their meanings and usages.Using more and more new words and compound sentences should take place at a later stage,.Usually, after child completing his 3rd year of age.


Don't be satisfied by child's telling of 'hu...ha..hoo" while listening the story.Ask questions as if you are really interested to know it from him.This can be done in another way also while repeating a story.You can tell a part of the story and wait the child to complete it.For Eg:

Father; Once upon a time.....

Child :...........A king......

Fath ;The king had........

Child ; Queen.......

Fath : The king and queen had.........

Child : A little son.......

6 lISTAN TO STORIES: Motivate child to repeat the stories told by you.This improves his speech, vocabulary and imagination.You will be wondered to find the child filling untold details in the story.Sometimes he creates his own stories and tells us.Listen his stories showing guinine interest , eventhough they are illogical and and baseless.


EVENTHOUGH ENTERTAINING stories are told in the begining, tell them incidents from great epics later, at the age of five and later.Let the child have his first entry into them at this stage.You may not believe it, it attracts them so much.

These are some hints for story telling, tried out and achieved success.

Adopt these,if you have not done it so far.But remember,story telling needs a lot of mental preparation, atleast in the begining.



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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      We absolutely must not let storytelling become a lost art. Passing family stories from one generation to another is so important via story telling. Not to mention the fact that story telling increases the child's ability to create 'mind movies'as the speaker tells the tale. I appreciate you sharing this.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Very good hub. Storytelling is something that was common before mass communication. I think it still is in some places or with some groups.

    • prasadjain profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tumkur


      A good story is the powerful blend of imagination, creativity,and huan experience.When properly told, stories create the same effectin young listeners' minds.

      That's why, they must be made good use of.

    • JAY777 profile image


      10 years ago

      Sir I like your thoughts on this subject. It really comes from a man who is jaded in such a subject. It gives me a different perspective in the areas of story telling. I agree with you esp. on your statement that these religious leaders use stories to effectively communicate their philosophies. as i have experienced most if not all people (irregardless of age, sex, gender, race, and backgrounds) likes stories; this is why they're very effective.brilliantly done.

    • profile image

      Gurudutt M.N 

      11 years ago

      A very good article

    • profile image

      Rajendra T.R. 

      11 years ago

      As a teacher and parent of a kid, this article is highly useful to me. I hadn't knew that story telling will be so much useful

    • jstankevicz profile image


      11 years ago from Cave Creek

      Very nice hub. You wrote a fine essay about telling stories, especially the why...

    • profile image

      Mohan ram 

      11 years ago

      Thanks, It gives good clues to parents and teachers.


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