I HAVE CAPTIVATED children with my interactive stories in schools for more than twenty years. From African fables to Indian fairy tales, I tell world stories in schools, libraries and museums around the UK, and teach children how to tell their own stories. I make sure every child is engaged, using props, songs and instruments, and I encourage discussion about alternative endings, favourite characters and descriptions of settings.
Here I am telling a traditional story from India, The Old Woman and the Fat Pumpkin, with the enthusiastic and vocal support of a class of Year 1 children.
You can hear some more examples of our work together below.
Stories in the classroom
Teachers tell me they continue to see the impact of the session on their children many weeks later, often hearing children chanting the rhymes or acting out my stories at playtime.
As a qualified teacher (UK QTS) with a specialism in Early Years and Key Stage 1, I draw on my understanding of the national curriculum to develop children’s speech, language and communication skills. I also know only too well the pressures teachers are under to expand their children’s vocabulary and improve their listening and speaking skills.
My workshops are carefully designed to give reluctant pupils the confidence to tell stories for the first time while engaging more able learners in skills like description, inference and developing their own narratives.
I’m often asked to share stories to fit with a theme in the school and regularly create tailor-made workshops. For example, I’ve explored stories about water for Art Week and stories from specific countries for International Week.
I specialise in working with children aged 3-11, but I’ve also worked with teachers, sharing practical tips on telling a story and illustrating how to get the best out of children who are preparing their own pieces of writing.
In 2019 for BBC Radio 4 I presented Why Can’t Our Children Talk?, an exploration of the worryingly limited vocabulary and reduced language skills of children starting school. I often draw on my radio skills to encourage the children to retell a story we’ve worked on together, and I record it for them to keep. Eg: Year 1 telling the Norwegian tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and Year 4 telling their own How and Why stories. In a world increasingly dominated by screens, my storytelling workshops convey to children the joy of speaking.
Wow! Kim captivated our reception and nursery children all morning. After she left, the children spent the whole afternoon singing the rhymes and role playing their version of the stories.”
Zoa Garcia, Reception, Ark Burlington Danes Primary Academy, London.
A thoroughly absorbing and enriching experience for every child. Kim gave a storytelling workshop for our Greater Depth day, and then recorded the children telling their version of a story.”
Imola Procter, Year 3, Unity Primary Academy, Essex.
Kim has a vibrant and unique way of engaging children. She entertained classes from reception through to year 5 with her stories from around the world.”
Vickie Dominy, Year 3, The Vinyard Primary, Richmond.
Kim worked her own magic on the Year 1 children to enrich our Fairy Tale literacy topic with exciting tales – an Indian version of Little Red Riding Hood and a Zimbabwean Cinderella. The engaging, interactive session enthused the pupils and helped them to sequence and re-tell their own versions of the classic tales. ‘The best visitor ever’ was how one child summed up the experience!”
Linda McChesney, Academic Leader and Year 1 Teacher – Claremont Fan Court School, Esher, Surrey.
Storytelling in practice
Ngwenya and the Crocodile
This is an African story about a girl who makes friends with a crocodile, who helps her teach her wicked stepmother a lesson.
How and Why
Theo, aged 9, reads his own story about the origins of some of the best-known jungle animals, inspired by a folk tales workshop.
Billy Goats Gruff
Children in a Year 1 class build a story together, one line at a time.