Have you ever seen a story telling competition for children? It's a fun activity, right? It's so good to see how children perform and do their best to win the trophies.
First things first: it's the session where children can practice their public speaking skills. They learn how to speak well before the audience and in the same time they learn how to improve their confidence.
Though the aim of the competition is to give awards to the winners, the competition itself has great values.
In order to perform well, children need to understand the story. They just don't memorize the story buy they have to comprehend it. Subconsciously, they have improved their vocabularies. It takes a special skill to retell a story using their own words, a skill that might be beneficial for them in the future.
How do we hold a storytelling competition? First, select the stories. We have to make sure that the stories are appropriate for children, in terms of theme, moral of the story and not to mention the difficulty level of the language itself that is grammar and vocabulary.
Second, decide the ideal time for children to tell the story. Normally it's 5 - 10 minutes.
Third, do you allow children to use properties or equipment that will be used during the competition? Or even music? If you do, you need to explain this before the competition. Sometimes the unclear information about this will upset the participants. You need to make clear regulations to anticipate the problems.
Fourth, how do you select the winners? There are some criteria that the participants of the competition have to meet:
1. Flow of the story
How relevant is the written story with the one being conveyed by the children? Though children retell the stories using their own words, however they are expected not to miss the main idea of the story.
2. Body language, intonation, and gesture
The items mentioned above are the cores of storytelling. It's good to see a storyteller to use attractive body languages, impressive intonation, and interesting gestures.
The supporting properties can be valuable for children. You should give extra credits for their efforts in preparing the properties. However, properties are like boomerang. Instead of helping children in telling the stories, they hinder the children in telling the stories smoothly. You need to pay special attention to this. Are those properties appropriate or related to the stories?
I intentionally put the question mark after this criterion. If you think those children are capable of using proper English and you want to check their competency on grammar, sure go ahead. You can check them. However, don't evaluate their competency on grammar for children who are at the early stages of learning English. Doing so will hinder them in joining the competition.
5. Mention the moral lesson of the story
This is a challenging task for the participants. They are required to be able to explain the moral lesson of the story. They should be able to explain the 'message' conveyed in the story.
Last but not least, if you need stories for the competition, you can consider using folktales. Why folktales? They have values and wisdom. Folktales have been told from generations to generations and by using folktales we preserve our culture.
So, should we have the competition now :)