Have you ever been a storyteller? Maybe you are a teacher at primary school, a librarian or just a parent who wants to involve the children in story writing and their story telling. What is a story bag? It is a large cloth bag that may contain your favourite child’s book with supporting objects. These objects should be real and physical, then they can stimulate language activities (listening, reading, writing), create excitement, invite curiosity and make reading or writing a memorable and enjoyable experience. Picture books, toys, puppets, hats, musical instruments, games, audio, cards and many more are the common objects for story bags.
Why is storytelling so important? It is noteworthy that it develops us. It encourages participation, stimulates emotional, linguistic and imaginative development. It allows children express their own ideas in their own language. Then it promotes creative writing. Children read more easily and recognize ideas, concepts, structure. Don’t forget that storytelling develops concentration and listening skills. By the way, storytelling helps children experience emotions through the story and discover different situations outside their own environment. And significantly, children are ready to tell their own stories. They are natural storytellers. When telling stories, children learn to listen, structure, use the language with pride, give their own opinion and ideas.
Now you know what a story bag is and what skills it develops. Let’s deal with its usage.
So, how should you use your story bag?
Firstly, you should prepare yourself to use it in a way to know your audience (your child, students), setting, the story. The better you are prepared, the more confident you are. Then, you can involve children (if you work in a class) in packing a story bag. They put objects into the bag during the week while reading the story. And at the end of the week you empty them out and discuss in circle. If your class is reading a few stories, you can prepare the bag with various objects from different stories. So, the children put out the objects and try to identify the story. This activity develops memory. Another activity to offer is a collection of objects that are pulled out of the bag by a child and he must make up a story around this object.
a couple of examples to use a story bag
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a story written by Eric Carle. It depicts a caterpillar eating too much food. It gets fat and makes a cocoon to become a butterfly soon. The main theme is healthy eating. So you can use different kinds of fruit and vegetables. May the children enable to follow the plot and give reasons for a balanced diet.
Rod Campbell wrote the story “Dear Zoo”. As you might have guessed it is about zoo animals. So, you can use different animal puppets. Children will be interested in description of the animals, making their noises and even their movements.
Today there are a great variety of story bags on the market. But you can create such a bag yourself and put your soul in it. Then you and your children will get a real pleasure of using it and developing your skills.