1.  Don't Apologize  

Even if you have just been asked to tell, or handed a story as you walked in the door, nobody else is interested in that fact.  If this is the case quickly offer a prayer for God's help then read the story through and God will help you do your best.

2.  Don't explain how you reached the decision about which story to tell.

There is no need to say "when I was asked to tell the story I couldn't decide whether to tell the story about 'Peggy and the skates', or 'Amemay's Bible', or 'Rachel comes to school.'  After a while I decided to tell about Peggy and the skates."  By this point you have long since lost your audience whether they are children or adults.

3.  Don't sermonize - Let the story teach the lesson.

4.  Don't read the story - TELL it.

5.  Don't ask the children how they liked the story.

Asking this does not help the children, it only makes the storyteller feel good.


1.  Pray - Ask God to help you choose the story that will bring honor and glory to His name.

2.  When Choosing your story there are several points to think about:

3.  Choose your Aids.  

While you can just tell the story, using visual aids will help the children remember the story longer as they are using more that one of the five senses to take in the story.  Some ideas for aids include:

4.  Write your story out in point form.  

If you are using pictures you can write your story on the back of the pictures; this makes it easy to recall the story at a later date.

5.  The first sentence of your story MUST grab their attention. 

You can back track a little later in the story if needed.  If you grab their attention at the beginning you will probably keep their attention  throughout the whole of the story.  But if you don't get their attention at the beginning it is almost impossible to get it part way through the story.

6.  Practise, Practise, Practise.

Tell the story out loud to the dishes, the garden, the car or whatever you are doing.  Keep practicing till you can tell the story without hesitation but not necessarily word by word.

7.  Use lots of expression

Use happy, sad, cross, excited voices whatever fits in with each part of the story.

8.  Learn to pause for suspense and emphasis.  Helps to keep the children's interest.

9.  Make sure non-verbal and verbal expressions agree. 

If you are talking about happiness then your facial expression and your voice should both express happiness.   The same goes for sadness, anger, fright etc.  If you are living the story as you tell it you have their interest.

10.  Stop when its time to stop! 

Have an attention grabbing climax and quick conclusion.  Close your story while you still have the children's attention.  The story should be the lesson you want the children to learn. 

11.  Critique yourself telling the story.  

Record yourself if possible, or stand in front of the mirror and watch yourself tell the story just as you plan to tell it, then watch yourself critically and look for:- 

  1. Verbal and non verbal expression - make sure they give the same message. 
  2. Listen for clarity of speech.
  3. Are your aids tying in with the story at the correct times?
  4. When using the felt board, are your pictures realistic? Do the people look like they are on the ground rather than up in the air etc?

12.  If you have family at home tell them the story.

Ask for their constructive suggestions.  Note: If you have children involved, make sure they know ahead of time that they are not allowed to give away the story line.


1.  Pray 

2.  Have all needed materials in order of use. 

If using  pictures or felts, place them in order of use from top to bottom of pile.  If using stuffed animals or other aids, have them ready to go in bag or basket.  If using live animals have carry container ready etc. 

3.  If possible arrange aids in storytelling area ahead of time.  

You need to be able to take your place and immediately commence the story as soon as the children are ready.

4.  Have children meet as a group.  

If the story  is being told in church as part of an adult presentation, ask the children to come out to a designated area for their story.  Having them meet as a group helps to make storytime a special time for them.

5.  Get down to their level as part of the group.  

Remove barriers such as rostrums, tables etc between you and the children.

6.  Maintain eye contact with the children. 

This lets them know that you are interested in them as a group of people.

7.  Be alert to the mood of the children. 

If they are losing attention, for whatever reason, (could be weather related etc.) skip part of the story and bring to an early conclusion while you still have their attention.

8.  Redirect children to the next activity at end of story.   

If they need to move to another area ask them to tiptoe quietly back to their seats or wherever they need to go next.

9.  Keep a record 

This is particularly important if you tell stories on a regular basis.  Note date and place where you told the story.  When I use the pictures I write the date and place on the back.  This means you won't tell the same story too often in the one place.