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National Storytelling Week 2019

Published on 31/01/19

Storytelling has been a staple of society for as long as anyone can remember - an ancient art form which has been practised and cherished throughout the ages. Whether it’s the spooky recollection of chilling tales around a campfire or tender reminiscing of being tucked into bed as a child - stories play a pivotal part in many people’s childhood memories.

National Storytelling Week celebrates the tradition of telling tales with events around the country that help to highlight the importance of reading and sharing stories in childhood. The Literacy Trust have flagged that “spending just 10 minutes a day reading with children can make a crucial difference” to their education and development. 

Ideas for National Storytelling Week & Beyond

We’ve put together a list of ideas that you could use with your school, not only this week, but throughout the year, to help encourage storytelling and reading. Hopefully some of these might be helpful or spark ideas of your own: 

  • Encourage your students (aged 5 to 13) to enter the BBC 500 Words Short-Story Competition
  • Hold a fantasy-story-telling competition and put the winning entry in a newsletter home to parents. 
  • Put on a school production of a much-loved book in an assembly.
  • Ask students to act scenes from their favourite novel during a Drama lesson. 
  • Arrange a book swap or put together a class reading schedule that incorporates books recommended by the students. 
  • Use English lessons to help the students write a story - give them the opening sentence to each section of the story and then get them to write the rest.
  • Set up a regular time each week where you can sit with the whole class and read a chapter or two of a story together. 
  • Tell stories on a school trip around a campfire or in the semi-darkness. 
  • Invite students to talk about their favourite books - create a mural for the classroom and get the students to draw the book covers.
  • Start a lunchtime book club.
  • Ask the students to recreate their favourite characters out of clay/playdough/whatever craft materials you have available. 
  • Decorate bookmarks to encourage children to use them when reading. 
  • Take a traditional fairytale and ask your students to turn it on its head and create a new version. 

Staff Book Recommendations

We’ve also put together our recommendation of books to read and enjoy - based on staff favourites from when we were younger: 

  • Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl - It was one of the first books I read on my own. I still see pheasants now and think of it!” 
  • Peace at Last by Jill Murphy - This was my favourite and I now read it to my little boy.”
  • The Magician’s Nephew by C.S Lewis - I didn’t like the other Narnia books as much, but this one was different - it was exciting and brilliant; I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien - Fantasy writing at its finest!”
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - This book started a lifetime love and study of literature”
  • Mr Topsy-Turvy by Roger Hargreaves - "I loved that it ended with 'Night! Good!'"
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - "We did it as a school play but I'd read it before then and enjoyed it!" 
  • The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton - "I loved it and now read it to my daughter" 
  • The Secret Seven & Famous Five by Enid Blyton - "I just loved the adventures. I read them all."
  • Harry Potter (all seven) by J.K Rowling - "I liked the idea that he got away from the people who were mean to him. And he got to be a wizard!"
  • The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith - "It's a book I read to my children - also they love the Youtube video of a Scottish granny reading it to her grandson."
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton - "I read it on holiday in Walberswick and it's stuck with me ever since."

Special Mentions: 

Two books came out as firm favourites and we thought they deserved special mentions, as they seem close to many people's hearts. They were: 

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Owl Babies

"My parents read it to me."

"My mum read it to me and my younger sisters, and she's now bought me a copy so I can read it to my child."  

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

We're Going On a Bear Hunt

"No particular reason, I just really loved it and now my little girl reads it to me."

"A firm family favourite - it still crops up in conversation even now!"  

National Storytelling Week 2019 runs from the 26th January to the 2nd February (however it also includes the four days prior and the four days after - according to the Society for Storytelling website). 

Katie Sixsmith

Katie joined e4education in November 2015 as a Project Co-ordinator in our Production Team. She was promoted to Production Supervisor in 2017 and then moved over to join the Commercial Team as our Marketing and Communications Executive in the summer of 2018. She has a 2.1 BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature from the Open University. 

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