Oh! The Stories You’ll Tell! Dr. Seuss and Three Storytelling Tips

Oh! The Stories You’ll Tell! Dr. Seuss and Three Storytelling Tips

Dr. Seuss was a master storyteller.

Children’s ministry storytellers can learn hundreds of lessons from Dr. Seuss.

But that would take hours, and might make you flee!
So I’ll make myself brief, and give you the top three:

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
~Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a dare. The challenge was to write an early-reader book that kids would enjoy using a vocabulary of 50 words. When asked if it was easy to do, he replied, “A paragraph in a children’s book is like a chapter in an adult book. [I have] as much responsibility to take as much time and work just as hard as [adult writers] do.”

The Dr. prescribes…ERASERS!

We assume that because we’re talking to kids, we need to over-explain concepts. One of the most important tasks of the storyteller is editing. Use the most simple, active words to promote understanding and engagement. Every word you speak should serve a purpose. Don’t waste words.

“It is better to know how to learn than to know.” ~Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss’ Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! remains a powerful statement on the importance of helping kids learn how to think. When provided the tools to research and think about the world, kids will become lifelong learners able to succeed on tests, and more importantly, at life.

The Dr. prescribes…TOOL BELTS!

Much like the building blocks of literacy do not begin with Shakespeare; the building blocks of biblical literacy do not start with Aquinas and Luther. Instead, start with the basics kids need to build faith over time. Equip kids with some basic tools, and they’ll have the ability to figure out how to discover more!

“If you never did you should. These things are fun. And Fun is good.” ~Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat caused quite a stir among educators when first published. Teachers were concerned that the cat caused too much trouble in a house where children were left at home and opted for the stale Dick and Jane books instead. Since 1957, educators have come to realize that enjoying the story is as important to literacy as phonetics and grammar.

The Dr. prescribes…FUN!

Enjoyment is part of the learning process. Whether it’s the story itself or the relationship between the storyteller and the audience, kids respond to fun. Fun releases dopamine in the brain that silently shouts, “MORE PLEASE!” If you want kids to return week after week, create a fun storytelling environment that invites them into the story.

Bonus!

“Read. Travel. Read. Ask. Read. Learn. Read. Connect. Read.” ~Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss knew that if he was going to write a story worth reading, he needed to understand his audience: KIDS. He studied the world through their eyes and helped them navigate difficult topics through stories that captured their imaginations, projecting what a better tomorrow could look like.

The Dr. prescribes…MICROSCOPES!

Do your homework. If you want to connect with kids, you need to become a student of their world—study how they think and what they face, find out what they like and find completely annoying. The more you know, the easier you’ll find pathways to connect God’s Word to their hearts.

This article originally appeared here.

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Dan Scott
Dan Scott serves as the elementary director at Ada Bible Church, which is outside of Grand Rapids, MI. He establishes the vision for programming including curriculum, volunteer care, and environment. Dan enjoys sharing ideas and encouragement from his life and ministry. He has a busy speaking and writing schedule and was recently named one of Children's Ministry Magazines' 20 leaders to watch. Dan and his wife Jenna have four kids: Liam, Ellison, Addison, and Taye.