Oral storytelling is an age-old tradition where a storyteller tells a story to someone else. It’s part of a traditional story and a type of storytelling. When a story is told orally, it can be changed to fit the needs of the audience or the location. Listeners feel like they are a part of the creative process and it is urgent.
Professional storytellers might choose to make their oral story more interesting by adding visual and audio tools, specific actions, and creative strategies and devices. They might also choose to add extra characters. Because of this, there will be lots of different versions of the same story.
Improve your communication skills, learn about other cultures, and become a more interesting person with oral storytelling
What set oral storytelling apart from other forms of communication, and why has it remained popular for centuries? In this blog post, we explore the answer to these questions.
Characteristics of Oral Storytelling
Several unique characteristics make oral storytelling different from other forms of communication. Some of these include:
- Oral narrations can be real or imaginary.
- The artist and the audience have a face to face contact. This can help him have a bigger impact as well as be affected by it. The level of connection they were able to achieve is unrivaled by other forms of communication.
- Rhythm and Repetition: One of the most important aspects of oral story telling is rhythm and repetition. The use of rhythm and repetition are common storytelling techniques to create a sense of flow, which is important for both the storyteller and those listening.
- Intimate: The audience can take part in an oral narrative by asking questions, making comments, or heckling. When they participate, individuals learn how other people view different situations, potentially sparking personal growth.
- Engaging: When someone tells a story using only their voice, it is engaging for both the person telling the story and the people listening. The person telling the story can use their face, body, and voice to make the story more interesting.
The characteristics of oral narratives are what make them unique and interesting. This is why it has remained popular for centuries.
Elements of Oral Storytelling
There are two elements of oral storytelling: the act (lingual, sonant, or vocal telling) element, and the tale itself. If you want to master it, you need to study both aspects equally.
Each element has different structural parts. Some of these parts include:
- Narrative Structure: verbal storytelling typically follows a traditional narrative structure with a beginning, middle, and end. The audience can follow the oral story and understand its overall meaning.
- Dialogue: it often features a dialogue between characters in the story. This helps to bring the good story to life and engage the audience.
- Characterization: in verbal storytelling, characterization is often created through the use of dialogue and description. The teller uses these elements to paint a picture of the characters in the mind of the listener.
- Repetition: it often features a repetition of words, phrases, sounds, and whole lines. When you use repetition in a story, it sounds better and people will remember it more.
- Sound effects: it often uses sound effects to enhance the telling of the story. This can help to create a more immersive experience for the audience.
- Facial expressions: it often features facial expressions to help convey the emotions of the characters in the story. This helps engage the audience and bring them into the world of the story.
Each of these storytelling components and conventions is important for creating a story that people will remember and enjoy.
Oral Tradition of Storytelling
The tradition of oral storytelling is when knowledge, cultural customs, and stories are passed down through generations by speech alone. In many cultures, this is the primary means of transmitting information about history, religion, and values.
In some cases, oral tradition may be the only available record of a particular event or story. For example, many Native American tribes in the United States continue to rely on oral storytelling tradition to preserve their history and culture.
In other cases, oral tradition may supplement or support written records. For example, many Indigenous peoples learn about their family history through stories passed down by elders. Regardless of its form, oral tradition plays a vital role in preserving the heritage of cultures around the world.
The Delgamuukw vs British Columbia case and subsequent court cases have been instrumental in forcing the Canadian legal system to recognize, respect, and give weight to Aboriginal oral traditions. The rulings show that courts must consider evidence from different cultural contexts without trying to fit them into a Western framework.
This shift has opened up new opportunities for reconciliation between Indigenous people and Canada’s mainstream society. With more openness on both sides, it is possible to build meaningful relationships based on understanding each other’s perspectives and histories.
Oral storytelling in school is an engaging and interactive way to educate, and inspire creativity, critical thought processes, memory recall of major concepts, and collaboration among peers. Furthermore, it acquaints students with new words from the professional storyteller’s vocabulary bank whilst simultaneously cultivating their assurance when speaking publicly and enhancing their understanding of how others think or feel.
Oral storytelling in the primary English classroom is a popular oral storytelling teaching method. While technology has changed the way stories are told, the basic principles of oral narratives remain the same: using story structure and facial expressions to enhance the telling of a story.
By harnessing these benefits and advantages of storytelling in the classroom setting teachers can make learning incredibly enjoyable for all learners!
Types of Oral Storytelling
There are many different types of oral storytelling. Each has its unique characteristics and elements.
- Narrative oral storytelling is the most common type of oral story telling. It involves telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end. The storyteller uses words, gestures, and facial expressions to bring the good story to life for the audience.
- Epics are a type of oral storytelling that tells the story of a hero or heroine. They are usually long and often involve gods, goddesses, and other supernatural beings.
- Folktales are oral stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. They often feature animals or ordinary people who display extraordinary acts of courage or wisdom.
- Native American oral traditions include many different types of folktales and fairy tales. Native Americans in the United States and Canada have a rich oral tradition that includes Native American stories about the creation of the world, animals, heroes, and heroines.
- Myths are oral stories that explain how things came to be, the natural world, and human behavior. They often feature gods, goddesses, and other supernatural beings.
- Legends are oral stories about real or imaginary people and events. They often involve heroes or villains who display extraordinary acts of courage or villainy.
- Orature is the vocal counterpart of literature which is a collection of classic folksongs, tales, and other information that is passed down orally instead of in writing. This could be another way to say “oratour” which is a small room or chapel used for prayer and worship, or for private study.
The types of oral narratives and their features should suit your purposes. Selecting the right type of oral narrative will engage your audience and achieve your storytelling goals.
Why is Oral Storytelling Important?
Studies reinforce the importance of oral storytelling in many aspects of an individual’s growth, such as their social and emotional abilities, cognitive development, and language skills. When we share oral stories, we create social and emotional connections that are personal and direct.
Verbal storytelling predates writing and reading. It has been used for centuries to transmit through speech knowledge, information, myth, legend, fairy tale, short story, poetry, and history from one generation to the next. By sharing personal stories, we can establish connections with others and create a sense of community.
Advantages of Oral Storytelling
Benefits or advantages of oral storytelling include the following:
- Kids learn new words and improve their listening skills.
- Children understand time, sequence, cause and effect, and other important life concepts.
- Kids use their imaginations to picture the events in the story.
- Kids learn about different cultures and traditions.
- Strengthening bonds between family members by providing a shared experience.
Disadvantages or limitations of oral storytelling include the following:
- The story is not permanent.
- The storyteller must be present to tell the story.
- The audience must be willing to listen to the story.
- Oral story telling can be time-consuming.
The pros and cons of oral storytelling show that it is important to consider all of these factors before deciding if it is right for you.
Features of Oral Narrative
Storytelling features of an oral narrative include the following:
Plot: The plot is the sequence of events that take place in a story. It includes the conflict, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Characters: The characters are the people or animals that take part in the story. They may be good or bad, main or supporting roles.
Setting: The setting is the time and place where the story takes place.
Theme: The theme is the central idea or message of the story.
These are some of the most important storytelling features of oral narratives. When you are telling a story, make sure to include these elements to make your story more interesting and engaging.
Traditional stories are about storytelling traditions, like legends, folk tales, myths, fairy tales, anecdotes, short stories, and fables. They often feature supernatural or magical elements, such as gods and goddesses, male or female heroes and villains, and princesses and dragons.
Traditional stories are often used to teach lessons about life, love, loss, and courage. Some of the most famous traditional stories come from ancient cultures, such as Greece, Rome, and China. These stories have been passed down through generations, and have been adapted and retold countless times.
History of Oral Storytelling
The history of culture was told by oral storytellers who talked about it to the next generation. The earliest stories probably come from simple chants that people sang while working. Over time, humans created myths to explain events in nature.
Stories and storytellers have been important to people throughout human history. They would travel from place to place and learn new stories. They would also bring news back with them. Oral history was very important in the days before writing was invented.
At the turn of the century, more and more people are interested in hearing oral stories. This has led to the establishment of several oral storytelling festivals. A regional storytelling festival is when tellers from a certain state or region get together and tell stories. This can be for entertainment, education, or both.
Oral Storytelling Skills
If you’re interested in becoming an oral storyteller, there are a few oral storytelling skills you’ll need to develop. Here are some oral storytelling tips for beginners:
- Choose a story that you’re passionate about. Think about what kind of story you want to tell. What does it mean to you? How will sharing it with others impact the way they see the world?
- Practice telling stories out loud. You may want to practice in front of a mirror, or with friends and family. This includes oral storytelling practices such as inflection, volume, and pacing.
- Use facial expressions and gestures to help convey the emotions of the characters in the story. Make eye contact with your audience to help engage them in the story. Slumped shoulders can make the story seem sad, while an open stance can make it seem friendly.
- Use sound effects to enhance the telling of the story. Always be aware of how your audience is reacting to you. If they seem bored, try to spice up the story. Dial back the intensity if they appear scared. The goal is to keep them engaged throughout the telling.
- Repeat words, phrases, and whole lines to create a sense of rhythm. They can be used to create a comic effect, make a statement more memorable, or emphasize a point. It is often used to make an idea more emphatic or to create a musical or incantatory effect.
The next time you’re at a party, sitting around a campfire, or just spending time with friends, try telling a story. You may just find that you have a knack for it!
Why is Oral Storytelling Important for Kids?
Oral storytelling isn’t crucial for only grown-ups, but children too. Children can remember stories better when they do physical activities that go along with the story. Verbal storytelling develops language skills, different concepts, and imagination.
Here are some benefits of oral storytelling for kids:
– Helps develop language skills: it can help kids learn new words and improve their listening skills. Language development and English grammar are important parts of early childhood development.
– Helps understand different concepts: it can help kids understand different concepts such as time, sequence, and cause and effect.
– Builds imagination: it can help kids use their imaginations to create pictures in their minds.
– Allows kids to share experiences and emotions: it provides a safe and supportive environment for kids to share their experiences and emotions.
Professional storyteller Rudolf Roos is also a certified primary school teacher. He is the founder of Vertellis, a social game that helps people connect. Rudolf believes that everyone has a story to tell and that anyone can learn how to tell theirs.
When Rudolf was 10 years old, he started writing his own stories. Since then, he has written over 100 stories. Rudolf’s advice for people who want to start telling stories is to “just start telling them.”
International storyteller Rudolf Roos recommended books for children and adults that teach about storytelling are:
- The Storyteller’s Way (Ashley Ramsden, Sue Hollingsworth)
- Improving Your Storytelling (Doug Lipman)
- Our Secret Territory (Laura Simms)
- The Story Factor (Annette Simmons)
- The Way of the Storyteller (Ruth Sawyer)
Competencies for Oral Storytelling
Research, craftsmanship, art, performance, training, applied storytelling, tradition, and entrepreneurship can be related to different functions of the oral storyteller. Some competencies cover a larger area than others.
For example, an entrepreneur looking to make a living through storytelling must have the ability to effectively communicate, as well as captivatingly tell their stories to succeed.
The traditional storyteller need not be entrepreneurial but must know how to find and preserve the tradition he represents. His main task is often to uphold values and social norms within a group of people. The applied storyteller uses stories in for example organizational development, conflict resolution, or education.
Purpose of Oral Storytelling
The purpose of oral storytelling has changed over time. In the past, stories were used to teach moral lessons, pass down history, or entertain. Today, stories are still used for those purposes, but they are also used to promote literacy, help people learn a new language, promote critical thinking, or even heal emotional wounds.
The Magic of Oral Storytelling
Magic can be found in the simple act of telling and listening to stories. It is about sharing stories that matter. It’s an age-old tradition that has been used to educate, entertain, and inspire people for centuries.
When a story is told, it usually revolves around one central character who goes on an adventure and learns something valuable by the end. Oral storytelling transports the listener into the world of the story. This is why oral stories are often more memorable than written ones.
How do You do Oral Storytelling?
Oral storytelling is a method of communication or transmission that requires preparation and practice. Here are some tips for beginners on how to do oral storytelling:
- Find a story that you want to tell: It can be a personal story, a folktale, or even a legend. The way you want your audience to feel or react should help determine the kind of story you tell. Before you continue, you need to establish your main message as well.
- Prepare the story: you need to plan and structure it. One technique to plan your story is to create a detailed outline. Another option is to develop a storyboard, which is similar to a comic book panel. It is important to stay focused when you are developing a story.
- Practice the story: Telling your story out loud will help you get used to it and help you remember it better.
- Tell the story: While spoken stories are best conveyed in person, consider recording a live performance to share later. The more places you share your story, the more engagement you can expect from your audience.
If you wish to become an oral storyteller, know that it takes practice and determination. You will have an oral storytelling approach and activities that you can use to teach people, make them happy, and give them oral storytelling ideas.
How can You Become an Oral Storyteller?
As an oral storyteller, you’ll need to be comfortable with public speaking, have a passion for oral communication, and be able to connect with your audience. You should also be able to remember your stories, as well as have a good understanding of the different types of stories.
Start with a personal story or a short folktale. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy legend. Verbal storytelling is an art, and like any art form, it takes time and practice to master. The key is to enjoy the oral storytelling processes and the journey.
Examples of Oral Storytelling
Inspiring oral storytelling examples of storytellers who pass on traditions and stories are usually found in cultures where the spoken word is revered. Some of the most famous oral storytellers come from Africa, Asia, and Native American cultures.
African griots are people who tell diverse kinds of stories for a living. Griots use music, dance, and oral poetry to tell their stories. African Americans keep their rich African traditions alive through griot storytelling.
Asian storytellers often use puppets, masks, and other props to help them tell their tales. One popular type of Asian storytelling is called kamishibai, which uses Picture Cards to depict the scenes of the story.
Native American stories are often about nature and the spirit world. These stories have been uttered by mouth for a long time by many different people.
Literature is also a form of oral storytelling. The qualities of a good storyteller in oral literature are important to consider. Writers such as Homer and Shakespeare wrote their stories to be performed out loud.
Oral transmission of classic narrative stories typically nameless characters is an integral part of many cultures. These stories can teach about values, life lessons, and even the history of a culture.
Write your story paragraph by paragraph and practice it. Find an audience to listen to your stories, such as in a coffee shop or park. You could also join a storytelling group where you can share your stories with others.
Oral storytelling is a unique and special way of communication that requires some preparation and practice. Storytellers must be comfortable with public speaking, have a passion for oral communication, and be able to connect with their audience. By following these oral storytelling tips for beginners, you can develop the oral storytelling skills you need to become an oral storyteller.