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Audience Participation

Be sure to visit the Ideas page within this "Resources" group of pages. It will alert you to the newest posts on Storytelling + Research = LoiS. This list of audience participation suggested actions helps to "break the ice" for my demonstrations. In the meantime I hope it helps get you started!

Don't just sit there!
How to get your Audience to Particpate.

  • Act out the story
  • American Sign Language (if you know it or can verify it) or motions that fit your story's action
  • Chants (already in the story or added)
  • Cumulative tales (assign parts or let the entire audience join you)
  • Improvise from audience suggestions
  • Repetition
  • Rhythm instruments
  • Songs (existing or you create)
  • Sound effects including animal noises
  • String stories or origami or puppet chorus
  • Kids can make puppets and join you
Audience participation can be one of the best ways to get an audience of mixed ages pulled into a storytelling program

One caution: once the insecurity of adolescence begins, they can be the toughest group to involve. It's easier for pre-teens and teens to "act cool." In a large group of all ages, they may accept participation if they're told the stories are a good way to entertain young children while babysitting or otherwise left to amuse someone younger. A few adults may also be reserved, but will usually accept your request for their help. Preschool through approximately age 10 are the prime candidates for participating and they, too, can enjoy these easy...

Books that can help you start involving your audience:

  • Baltuck, Naomi - Crazy Gibberish and Other Story Hour Stretches
  • Carlson, Bernice Wells - Listen! and Help Tell the Story
  • Fujita, Hiroko (with Fran Stallings) - Stories to Play With
  • HINT - Anthologies with the word "nursery" in it work for preschoolers
  • Hutchinson, Veronica - anthologies including stories for the youngest
  • MacDonald, Margaret Read - anthologies that include notes for storytelling
  • Miller, Teresa compiler (and Norma Livo, editor) - Joining In
  • Tashjian, Virginia - Juba This and Juba That
  • (also) - With a Deep Sea Smile
To find additional links to aid you in adding audience participation to your storytelling, go to the Resources section and click on the Specialized Resources.

Lois with hula hoop