Story Telling Techniques: What Works For You?

Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative

Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In order to engage children with my stories written or spoken, I need to create stories that encourage listening. With these stories I hope  that children will learn new and wonderful words. If I create a story that revolves around another world they can learn from that as well. I want to get their imaginations flowing and get responses that peak their curiosity for learning. I make every effort to use all five senses in my writing. I attempt to create characters children can relate to, as well as, be inspired by. Telling a story opens a door to so many possibilities and encourages reading. I love being a writer.

Rachel Mork, at http://www.123life.com,  wrote an article that sums up simple techniques every writer can use.

Effective Storytelling Techniques

By: Rachel Mork

When you use effective storytelling techniques you can turn a tame story into a fantastic experience. Storytelling is fun for children and adults alike, especially if you take the time to create the proper mood and setting. You can learn storytelling by watching an experienced storyteller or just practice on your own. Try some of these storytelling techniques to enhance your own stories.

  • Set the Mood: Stories are best received when they are told in a unique setting. Try telling stories around a campfire, in a dark room with flashlights, nightlights or candles or out on a blanket by the light of the moon. Children and adults alike will get into the story more if you set up the storytelling as an event. Setting the mood builds the anticipation.
  • Set up the Story: Before you launch into telling the actual story, you’ll want to set up your audience to know what to expect. If you are telling a funny story, you’ll want to start out with some good-natured joking about the story. If you’re telling a spooky story, you’ll want to joke about creepy-crawly types of things or about how you hope this story doesn’t scare the kids too much. Have fun with your introduction. Look up jokes if you’re not good at ad libbing. Again, the point here is to build the anticipation.

Read more here.

Teach Children to Read Faster

Dennis Brooks, One-To-One Reading Teacher

The Automatic Reading Teacher

Title: Teach Children to Read Faster

Author: Dennis Brooks

Illustrator: N/A

Publisher: Lulu
ISBN: 9781105152313

Review:
Teaching someone to read can be a difficult task. For some individuals reading can be picked up quickly. For others who struggle with the sound of words and speech daily, learning to read can be cumbersome. As a result, the enthusiasm for learning to read is non-existent. Dennis Brooks has created a fun way to teach reading with simple phonetics.

In the 1930’s schools were introduced to the “Dick and Jane” reading series. New words were easy to learn and were taught through diacritical markings or the teaching of phonics through spelling. By the time the 80’s and 90’s came around, institutions were using the “Whole Language” method which incorporated word recognition by sight not necessarily by sound. The debate continues as to which method is the best for teaching students to read.

Instead of waiting around to see who will decide which method works best, do it yourself. Dennis Brooks has created a quick, easy and fun workbook to help anyone learn to read quickly and comprehend and pronounce words. This guide can be utilized by a teacher, parent or tutor. Students and adults who have difficulty learning to read will reap the benefits of this easy to use learning tool. The books opening chapter introduces readers to the “say-spell-say” approach. An example of this is:

  1. To start, have students read, study, and learn only the phonetic words: shep.
  2. Next, have them study the alphabetic words with the say-spell-say drill: shep –s.h.e.p – shep.

Sounds like this: (shep=es.ach.e.pe=shep)

  1. Then, teach the students to read the phonetic words on their own without help. If necessary, have them use their finger as a point to help read the sounds of the words.
  2. Next, teach the students to read and spell the alphabetic words: sheep.
  3. Use both versions of the words to teach t hem to associate the phonetic words with the alphabetic words. 

There are a few more steps with this lesson along with a list of practice words with lessons and instructions to help readers learn and understand phonetic pronunciations.

The Fonikz Teacher/Student Training section covers the phonetic and rhyming pronunciation patterns. The importance of blending sounds and practicing reading short sentences is incorporated into this section as well. Some examples are:

Early sentences:

I want to play now.

The ball is in the yard.

I see you, Mommy.

Daddy is going bye-bye.

Overall, this is the book I plan to utilize as a part of my advocacy for reading and writing at Kristi’s Book Nook and The Neophyte Writer. This is a great way to introduce the structure of reading and writing for anyone one whether they are a student who is having difficulties or an adult who never had the opportunity to learn to read.

About the author:

Dennis put all study-words on lists and arranged them from smallest to largest and did the same thing with the poems and short stories. This made the reading program a self-teaching course for most students. Those who have a high aptitude for languages, regardless of their age, can teach themselves to read without constant one-to-one tutoring. Those who struggle with learning to read simply need basic instructions and reading assignments, which can be given as homework. At some point, students will learn to recognize the phonetic core of the common words and use those skills to sound out and read many of the 600,000 words that make up the English language.

Dennis has dyslexia and has used the program to improve his reading skills as well. Since dyslexia hindered his ability to read, write, and spell; developing, teaching, and testing this program took place over a span of 20 years. Nevertheless, since developing and testing the program, he has more than quadrupled his reading speed.

To purchase this book please find it at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/dennisbrooks

Shana Gammon Author Exposed

Shana Gammon is an author who loves cats so much she has written a really funny book about one. But that’s not all she does, she is also an artist. Shana has stopped by to share her writing experience and some tips too.

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Neophyte Writer Interview:

How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was in the fifth grade. That year I had a teacher who encouraged students to do a lot of creative writing. I really enjoyed it.

Have you always written for children?

Children’s literature is a genre I’m very comfortable with. I think that writing children’s literature allows the writer a certain freedom – almost an ability to be a child again.

What drives and motivates you?

My children have been a source of motivation for me. They were one of the main reasons why I wrote Marie’s Nine Lives.

What advice do you have for new writers?

I would encourage new writers to write for the fun of it and take time to determine what type(s) of writing they enjoy. If you enjoy writing it will reflect in what you write and you can truly connect with your audience.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’m sure I’ll still be writing. What I’ll be writing – I have no idea. That’s the fun of it though.

Shana Gammon is the author and illustrator of Marie’s Nine Lives. She based the book on her cat Marie; a cat that she and her family rescued from an animal shelter. This is Shana’s second book for children. Her first children’s book, The Great State Cookbook, was published in 2003.

For more information about Marie’s Nine Lives, please visit the book’s website at: www.mariesninelives.blogspot.com. All booking inquiries should be sent to the publisher at: willowtreebooks@yahoo.com 

Thanks so much for stopping by Shana. For a chance to win a copy of Marie’s Nine Lives visit Kristi’s Book Nook.

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Karen E. M. Johnston Author Exposed

Learning from other writers is always an excellent way to hone in on your skills. I love it when authors share their experiences and me become a better writer. Visiting this week is Karen Johnston author of two wonderful books for middle grade readers. She is sharing with us the craft of writing and some great tips too.

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Neophyte Writer Interview:

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for about ten years.

Have you always written for children?

I started writing freelance by writing articles for magazines. My background was advertising back in the UK (London, Covent Garden) where I would sometimes be required to write copy, so the natural progression was to write non-fiction. I’ve published a wide variety of articles from in publications from Metro Kids, Kid Zone Magazine to Succeed. Then after having my three children, and spending every evening reading children’s books aloud to them at bedtime, I decided to have a go at writing one myself. So I wrote my first children’s book, The Witness Tree and the Shadow of the Noose, a civil war ghost mystery.

What drives and motivates you?

At the risk of sounding batty, I’d have to say the characters in my head, who are constantly partying, have so many things to tell me. And whenever I get an invite, I write their stories down as quick as I can. I have no choice, I have to write their stories.

What advice do you have for new writers?

Persevere. All published writers were unpublished first. Write every day. And eat lots of chocolate.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’d like to continue adding to my middle grade children’s collection, and I would like to branch out into young adult and women’s fiction.

What’s your next project?

I just started a young adult novel about a teenage girl who finds out her crush has a short list for invites to the upcoming prom–she’s fourth on the list. Not a happy chappy. I’m at the early stages of the novel, my favorite part, when I start to get to know the teenagers I’m about to spend the next nine months with. I love the drama, the passion, the raw excitement, the hope, the utter despair and the incredible depth of emotion my characters share with me. Give me a teenager any day.

Karen E. M. Johnston, a British author, was born in Gibraltar, studied Business and International Marketing in the UK, and worked in advertising and marketing in London’s Covent Garden before moving to the US. She is widely published in children’s, parent, and business magazines.

Karen’s debut children’s middle grade novel THE WITNESS TREE AND THE SHADOW OF THE NOOSE, a Civil War ghost mystery, came out in 2009, and her second children’s novel BIG BOYS DON’T SPY hit the shelves November 2010.

Karen also writes Women’s Fiction and Young Adult novels.

Ms. Johnston lives in Chantilly, Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington D.C. with her British husband and three American sons who have not the slightest trace of a British accent.

Thanks so much Karen for stopping by and sharing your story. To learn more about Karen visit her at:

http://www.kemjohnston.com

Facebook: Karen E. M. Johnston

Twitter: KemJohnston

She is also featured at Kristi’s Book Nook. Be sure to stop by for a chance to win her novel “Big Boys Don’t Spy.”

Brooks Olbrys Author Highlight

Brooks Olbrys is a writer who focuses his passion on protecting our oceans and seas. He creates books that give children new insight about the creatures that live there. Here is what he had to say:

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How long have you been writing?

After coming across some old school work and journals recently, I realized I’ve been a writer since childhood. And in college, two graduate programs and law school, I wrote quite extensively on academic subjects. But I only began writing my current children’s picture book series, The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob, a little over one year ago.

Have you always written for children?

Blue Ocean Bob Discovers His Purpose is my first children’s book.

What drives and motivates you?

I love studying the philosophies of achievement and success and I believe these concepts are what empowered me to be where I am today. I want to share this information with children because I know how powerful and life changing it can be. Every child has unlimited potential if they believe in themselves and never give up on their dreams.

What advice do you have for new writers?

If you have an idea that inspires you, start writing. The way will be shown, but you have to take the first step and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Doing exactly what I am doing now, only on a bigger scale. Managing my investment bank and producing books, products and media for children inspired by principles of success and dedicated to building awareness of and respect for our oceans and sea life.

Thanks so much for sharing with us Brooks.