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Tell Me Another Story, Please?

13 Sep 2016


Whether or not storytelling is already a favourite activity in your home, here are some ideas on how you can inject fun in reading at home by harnessing the power of storytelling.

Does your child ask this of you often? Whether or not storytelling is already a favourite activity in your home, here are some ideas on how you can inject fun in reading at home by harnessing the power of storytelling.

So, what is storytelling? Quite simply, it is the art of telling stories in an expressive manner, often with the use of physical movement, props or music.

What makes a good story?

A book which you enjoy reading would make a great story to tell. You are likely to already know the story well and will not have to spend additional effort memorizing it.

The story should have an engaging storyline that includes a beginning, feature conflict and resolution. Stories which incorporate repetitive words or phrases, gestures or songs often go down well with children, as they provide children with the opportunity to participate by reading, gesturing or singing along.

How can I prepare to tell a good story?

Practise, practise, practise. Yes, this is needed as not all of us are naturally talented in storytelling!

Read the story aloud at least three times to familiarise yourself with it. You do not need to memorise the story as you will not need to read aloud the text on each page when you story-tell. Do not worry if you cannot fully remember the story - you can always refer to the words and pictures in the book to guide you along.

Identify appropriate junctures in the story to vary your facial expression, tone, volume and gestures.

  • Facial expressions allow you to portray the character’s emotions.
  • Varying tones and volume add personality to your characters.
  • Gestures allow your child to see the story unfolding in action.

What other materials will I need?

You can use any material available at home to make the storytelling experience even more exciting for your child. Storytelling with props or hand puppets, which represent the characters, draws the attention away from you, so you need not feel self-conscious. It also encourages your child to interact with the characters directly.

How else can I make storytelling interesting?

You may explore draw-and-tell if you are inclined to draw. As you tell the story, begin to draw pictures that depict parts of the story. By the end of the story, the individual images come together to form a larger picture that tells the whole story.  

If you are good at making crafts, try Storigami, the art of conducting storytelling through the use of paper origami. Your child will be mesmerized as he gets to see different shapes emerging from a piece of plain paper. The act of folding is critical in Storigami as each shape that is folded illustrates a point of development in the story.

There is no ‘right’ way to story-tell; simply do it your way and be bold to dramatize. Enjoy bonding with your child through storytelling!

Here are some recommended books and stories to start you off on this journey of storytelling: 



Brief Description

Where the Wild Things Are


Maurice Sendak


Join Max, in his wolf suit, as he visits a place where the wild things are. His imagination comes alive while he is punished to stay in his room alone.

Fish is Fish

Leo Lionni

The minnow and the tadpole are best friends. When the tadpole becomes a frog and leaves the pond to go exploring, the minnow envies him and wishes to follow.

The Grouchy Ladybug

Eric Carle

A grouchy ladybug refuses to share her food and tries to pick a fight with other creatures to prove that she is stronger than them.

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

Jon Scieszka

A twisted fairytale where the wolf shares his side of the story. He is not such a big and bad wolf after all.

Dear Zoo


Rod Campbell

A young child receives boxes of animals from the zoo. Have fun making jungle-animal sounds with your child.

Good News, Bad News

Colin McNaughton

A young boy’s day turns from good to bad and worse. ‘Cheer’ or ‘boo’ in response to the opening phrase on each page.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Michael Rosen

An action-packed book – join in as a family embarks on a trip to hunt for a bear.

The Amazing Sarong

Quek Hong Shin

Two children discovered that there is more than meets the eye to a seemingly boring piece of cloth, a sarong.

The Kan Cheong Spider

Wang Shijia

Join Ang Ku Kueh Girl and Ang Ku Kueh Boy on their adventure with Red Egg at the Dragon Playground.

Stories for draw-and-tell

Linda Meuse

Spread Your Wings and Fly: An Origami Fold-and-Tell Story

Mary Chloe Schoolcraft Saunders

Fold an origami bird as you read this uplifting story about determination and perseverance.

The Pirate Girl’s Treasure: An Origami Adventure

Peyton Leung

A girl receives a treasure map from her pirate grandfather and sets off on an epic adventure. Get to fold a captain’s hat and a ship amongst many others.

You can also find some tips on telling these two stories here:


We wish to thank the National Library Board (NLB) for training a group of Learning Support Coordinators on storytelling techniques in May 2016. The contents of this article are partially adapted from what was shared during the workshop and NLB’s publication – Storytelling 101: Values Through Storytelling.

You may also wish to bring your child for storytelling sessions at the Public Libraries – see for weekly schedule and locations.