As a teacher in my last vocation, one of the most exciting subjects to teach used to be English Comprehension. Once you become a teacher, you realize that every story, every article, every piece of writing can be used to teach logic, critical thinking and creative ideas. Simple writings can help your kids understand the many complexities of life early on and push their thinking on solving it.
I had a class of 25 teenagers and would often use Stories and Poems from classic English writers, both to increase their vocabulary and language as well as to push comprehension abilities.
While doing this, very regularly, one needs to assume the role of an excellent story teller, somebody who uses one’s voice, body and the environment around as props for a captivating story telling session.Amongst all the voice modulation and hand movements, what I struggled most with was to keep the text of the story within reading length. As I moved around the class engrossed in the story, I would remember that I actually DO NOT remember what happens next in the story and rush to read up. This dampened the effect of the story a little bit and sometimes broke the momentum. I devised small palm-fitting notes and other prompts to remind me but they were mostly random and hence did not help much.2 years of my fellowship rushed by while I continued doing my little rush to the table for reading up on the progress of the story.
Like inspiration, solutions can strike you at the strangest place and time. Yesterday I was talking to a colleague of mine who is just back from South Africa after attending the launch of the African Story Book project (http://www.africanstorybook.org/). She told me how during one of the workshops in the 2 day conference, somebody spoke about the ‘ Bare-Bone’ method of storytelling. I was immediately interested and did a little bit of research on it. Although not much is available on the internet, here is what I understood about it:
The Bare Bone method of storytelling essentially means that you narrate the story with its most basic content. Just the bones: the framework of the story. Remember the basics of the story, the main characters, the problem, the solution (maybe write it down somewhere for a quick reference) and then go with the flow. Restrict the story to 5-10 main lines and that’s it. Make the flesh as you go on.
I came across this interesting article which details out a good methodology to bare-bone a story. After I read this, I wished I had read it before and saved myself a few calories of running to the table each time for a recap in the class.
Hope all you story tellers will use it and share with us if you found this useful.