What Is Storytelling?

BY: Janet Campbell

Storytelling is a way to convey a message, to educate, to entertain, and to share a cultural experience by word of mouth as a narrative. Most importantly, it is an art and a form of expression that was shared amongst cultures prior to the introduction of writing. Stories were shared orally and were a way for individuals to use their imaginations and create characters with plots and points of view. Education status had no bearing. The ability to use your imagination, a joyful spirit and a purpose to share your story is all that is needed.

It is common for music and dance to accompany storytelling, as evident in African folktales. African folktales derived out of the desire to keep the culture alive and to pass on values through word of mouth. African folktales taught lessons and gave children a sense of identity. This craft has been shared with the world and the world has embraced storytelling. It is important to keep the tradition of storytelling alive for it brings different cultures together because of its inviting spirit and bridging of individuals differences through the art form. It is an educational tool, spiritual tool, and it creates a connection to the story itself for the listener. The story literally comes alive through storytelling and the listener embraces it.

Share Your Story

You too can tell your own story. Think of a value or cultural experience you would like to share with your child. Begin to imagine a character that will carry out the mission of your story. Picture this character in your mind and begin to live through this character. Let this character tell your story. Add some music to the background and live and breathe your story through the music. You are now telling your story, entertaining and instilling values in your child in a fun, captivating way. And the most exciting part about it, your child can join you. Let them feel the magic—the magic of storytelling.

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