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Storytelling with Multi-age Groupings

  • Nov 8, 2010
  • Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard

It was wonderful meeting so many librarians who attended the MELSA Musical Storytelling Workshop on November 3. During the workshop, many librarians discussed the need for continual dialogue about creating multi-age storytelling that was effective for all participants. This interactive Blog was designed for such a task. Your input about concerns and suggestions for creating storytelling with large, multi-age groups is appreciated. Please share your strategies and concerns with us through blog comments.

Using music and musical elements throughout your storytelling will greatly enhance participation for multi-age groupings. Music is a great extender for storytelling participation. Music is an effective teaching tool that reaches many different brain pathways areas. The “Music In a Box” lesson plan format provided on this blog was designed for you to think of musical ways and areas to extend music into your storytelling.

Please share your story time ideas with us, especially those you utilize with large multi-age groupings. Here are some ideas from our MacPhail-MELSA workshop participants:

  •  Let the older children contribute. The children can assist as leaders and helpers. The older children can pass out instruments, share their ideas, and assist the caregivers with the younger children.
  • Musical activities are very age adaptable. A caregiver can “buzz” together a set of rhythm sticks for a younger child, while the older children can buzz their own independently. Older children might enjoy shaking the parachute in rhythm to the chant while the babies might enjoy watching or shaking egg shakers or colored scarves with their caregivers.
  • Plan for many ages but find the common ground. Music meets everyone. Singing, clapping or dancing to a rhythm is a joyful experience for all ages. 
  • Music builds attention, especially live music. Invite community musicians to add to your storytelling. Musical volunteers from your community will add so much to your story time.

Please share YOUR ideas and suggestions.

Musically Yours!
Dianna Babcock
Cheryl Henningsgaard

©MacPhail Center for Music, 2010

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