Telling to 6-9 Year Olds


This is a prime age for telling stories. They are out of the baby stage and yet the children have a wild imagination and are not inhibited at all. The love the sense of play inherent in storytelling. hey have the attention span now that allows them to let the words…just the words…bring them into the story. Most of them are just beginning to read and can see the stories behind the words. But, there are some that are having a really hard time putting those black squiggly things into a story. They are too busy sounding out the word to let the story flow. One of the greatest joys of a storyteller is to ignite the reluctant child to want to read by listening to a story. There may be students who never learn to read with great fluency because they are dyslectic. What greater gift to give a child than a story. I remember telling to a child once upon a time. She was in third grade but could not read. She listened to me tell stories and then told them back to me. Her mother really worked on her by letting her tell stories…all the time. Like all age groups this one has its peculiarities and its unexpected rewards.

  1. Earmarks of a good story to tell to 6-9 year olds
  2. Good stories to tell
  3. Tips for telling
  4. Bibliography and Websites
  5. Appreciations

I.      Earmarks of a good story to tell to 6-9 year olds

  • Stories can be between 5 to 10 minutes long – even longer if the plot doesn’t get too complicated
  • Some stories can still have participation, but not all. They should be listening now and not jumping in every chance they tet like they do in preschool. As the listeners approach 9 years old,they stop wanting to participate.
  • Talking Animal stories, progressive stories, noodlehead stories are good. Examples - Br'er Rabbit and Anansi stories, The Old Woman and good. Examples - Br'er Rabbit and Anansi stories, Jack Tales
  • Plots still need to be simple. The structure of repeating an action three times (Ex. The Little Red Hen) is a great one for this age group. Progressive stories that build from one action to the next are also good. (Ex. The Old Woman and her Pig)
  • The teller can start using some unusual words that the listeners can figure out from the context of the story. Some 8 and 9 year olds can listen to longer stories especially if they have experience in listening to stories. Some tellers feel it’s best to leave more sophisticated stories to the older students (10 on up), but others have had success in telling more complicated plots to younger students. My personal opinion is that it’s often not that the plots are complicated, it’s that the subject matter is not appropriate for young children. I want kids to be kids while they can.
  • Stories that have a clear lesson that's unstated - How and Why Stories from many cultures and those that are stated like Aesop and Lobel's Fables.
  • Avoid long legends, most tall tales, and really frightening stories.
  • Scary stories like Ruby Red Lips (6 and older) and Tailypo (8 and 9) are fine. Make sure the good always succeeds over the evil.
  • Avoid stories that have puns and ones that are fractured. They (for the most part) won't see the humor or get the idea behind the fracturing. They will listen to them, but they probably won't "get it."
  • For 8 and 9 year olds you can introduce riddles as segues between stories. Most students won't get the correct answer, but you can talk about why the answer makes sense with the clues that were given. This will help students to make the transition into another level of thinking. This is the time that the students are starting to rely less on picture books. As they are starting to read chapter books, they no longer have the visual clues.


II.     Good Stories to Tell for 6-9 Year Olds:


III.   Tips for Telling for 6-9 Year Olds


IV.  Bibliography and Websites:

The 398.2 section of the library is full of collections of folktales from many different countries and cultures. Most of them will need to be reworked to fit the language of the teller and the age of the listeners. This section will include the collected fairy tales of Andrew Lang, the Brothers’ Grimm, Han Christian Anderson, and much, much more.