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Reading Research Guide (Education): Storytelling

A guide to resources on reading development, teaching reading, and children's literature

Choosing a Story

When choosing a story, consider:

  • Your audience
    • Age, language development, attention span
  • Content:
    • Length (as pertaining to age/attention span)
    • Upsetting or distracting content, such as:
      • Death
      • Being lost
      • Underpants!
    • Sophistication of humor
    • Challenging vocabulary
    • Unfamiliar setting
  • Your comfort zone
    • Don’t pick a story just because it’s short and easy if you also find it dull (your listeners will, too)!
    • If you are inexperienced, avoid starting out with something that’s too complicated


  • Are you going to do a straight-forward reading from a book?  Practice showing the illustrations and reading sideways.  You can also memorize the text.
  • Consider how you will use your voice.
    • Will you create and maintain character voices (listeners will know if you use the wrong voice for the wrong character!)?
    • Will you use volume/dynamics to evoke a mood?
  • Would you like to present your story in a different medium, such as:
    • Fabric or paper pieces with Velcro or magnets (use on a flannelboard or magnetic board)
    • Tell-n-draw
    • Puppets
    • Story cards (especially if the original format is too small for group sharing)
    • Props
    • Traditional storytelling (just voice with no props)
    • Participation story with action, a repeated refrain, and/or sound effects provided by the audience
    • Story as song (e.g. “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly”)


Benefits of Storytelling for Early Readers

Librarians As Storytellers

Carroll librarian, Fran Cincotta, is a storytelling librarian.  She tells stories to groups of children in the library and gives presentations about storytelling to education faculty.  Thanks to Fran for selecting the books and websites and contributing the content for this page on storytelling.

Online Read-Aloud Resources

Print Finding Read-Alouds, a list of books available in the Carroll CC Library, from the Storytelling Handouts box.

Online Storytime Resources

Print a list of Storytime Resources available in the Carroll CC Library from the Storytelling Handouts box.