We Love When You Do the Funny Voices!

Posted on June 6, 2010

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At the end of the school year, I do both written and oral reviews and evaluations of our library class for the year.  I ask the students to tell me what they liked, what they disliked, and what they’d like to study/read for next year.

At my first year in my present position, I expected the students to want lots and lots of technology.  But I always included author study units with lots of storytelling.  When I did the review/evaluation at the end of the year, I expected the students’ biggest like to be something to do with technology.

Was I wrong!  Their favorite thing?  “When you read us books and do the funny voices!”

At first I figured this would just be with the lower grades; I was pleasantly surprised to see this same review all the way through 5th grade.

Surely the middle schoolers weren’t interested in storytelling, were they?  Maybe it was just coincidence, but I did notice the door open in the classroom above our story area whenever I was reading aloud.  And any middle schoolers in the library to research inevitably wound up nearby, listening as intently as the younger students.  Even my parent volunteers would stop shelving or checking books in and come over to listen.

Now I’m not bragging on my storytelling skills here; I’m good, but that’s not the point.  What really strikes me about this, nine years later, is that I still get the same response.  While the students enjoy and get a lot out of the technology lessons we share, their favorite part is always storytelling.

Perhaps this has some meaning for us today, in the world of information and technology overload.  We shouldn’t forget the very personal connection we can make between a story, its teller and  its listeners.

I’ve told stories via skype, to rapt audiences.  I create podcasts.  But it’s not the same as a live performance.  The connection between live people without the distractions of technology is already special; add some intonations, accents, and strategic pauses, it becomes magic.  Let’s not forget that magic in the excitement of the latest technology.

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Posted in: Lesson Plans