Tips for Beginners

Sita BrandHere are some tips to get you started

Finding a story

Choose a story that you like and that you enjoy telling. If you don't enjoy it your audience won't either. Whatever you choose, don't read from a book. That isn't storytelling, it's story reading and unless you are the author you could be infringing copyright.

  • Tell a folktale, a story handed down from one generation to another.
  • Use a real life story, from history or personal experience.
  • Make up a story.

Preparing to tell

Memorise the outline, not the whole story. Then tell the story in your own words. Practice makes perfect. Try it a few times. Practise in front of a mirror or with friends and family.

Visualise your story. Imagine sounds, tastes, smells and colours. Picture your characters, how they behave, walk and talk.


Beginnings are especially important. Launch straight into the story and avoid a long preamble. Common beginnings are things like, "Once upon a time," or " My grandmother told me, " or "In the long ago and far away..."

Endings should be clear to your listeners. They want to know that you have come to the end. You may need to slow down. Common ending are things like, "They lived happily ever after," or "Ever since then that's how it's been."

Use repetition. Traditional tales often use the rule of three, to build the tension in a story. Think of the Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Vary the tone, pitch and pace of your story. Don't be afraid to use a little silence.

Be confident. Even if you don't feel confident, just pretend. It's surprising how quickly your confidence will grow.

Most of all have fun and enjoy your storytelling.

More tips

We regularly blog about storytelling and include hints and tips. Here are some useful blogs for you to look at.

What makes a good story?

3 storytellers tell us what makes a good story

Introduction to storytelling

Why children like stories