The WHEEL Council - Substance Abuse Prevention for Teens and Youth

WHEEL Council, Inc.

Wholistic Health, Education, and Empowerment for Life

Storytellers

Storytelling for healing, resiliency, strength and culture empowerment.

Storytelling & Body Language Pointers

1. Plant your feet and get a comfortable, confident posture to begin.

2. Take a breath and make eye contact with a friendly face before beginning.

3. Eliminate “uhs” by pausing periodically when you are speaking.

4. Image the story in your mind and describe what you see.

5. Focus on perceptual details (colors, sounds, tastes, smells, movements).

6. If you rock or move your hands in a repetitive way, make the movements fit with the story’s rhythm.

7. Surprise the audience with a few dramatic or sudden movements.

8. Be yourself and speak from your heart.

How to Learn Stories

From a Storyteller or Audio Tape:

  • Listen to the story several times.
  • Visualize the story as you listen, you may want to close your eyes.
  • Try to retell the story aloud to yourself. Make sure you find a comfortable place to try this.
  • Listen to the story again.
  • Tell the story again to yourself or to someone else

From Written Material:

  • Read the story several times.
  • As you read the story, visualize what is happening.
  • Try to retell the story aloud to yourself without looking at the story.
  • You may want to draw pictures from the story or write down scenes, characters and events with bright colors. Colors aid memory.
  • Read the story again.
  • Tell the story again to yourself or to someone else

From Memory:

  • Think about a story you want to tell that you were told or a story from your own life experiences.
  • Try to visualize elements of the story.
  • Put swatches of color on paper that give you the feeling of the story to open up your memories.
  • Try to tell the story aloud to yourself.
  • Tell the story again to someone else.
  • You may need to do research to flesh out your story (i.e. interview a family member, or find a written documentation of your story).

Remember you need to tell a story many times before it is stored in your memory, possibly up to 10 times. Stories are best when people hearing them can see vivid pictures in their mind, so use this fact to learn to remember stories. Visualize the scenes in your mind as you tell the story. Great Greek orators learned how to tell stories using visual images as keys. Use the same trick.

A great source for stories is accounts of relatives, events from your life, or scenes from your dreams. Another great idea is to find folktales from your cultural roots. Go to the children’s section of the public library in the folktale division and you will find a great resource.


Stories to Live By

Why the Moon is Free

Why the Moon is Free

Origin: Mexican Theme: The feminine cannot be controlled or dominated. The Sun, el Sol, loved the Moon, la Luna. He thought she was so pale and lovely, that he longed to have her for his wife. “You are more lovely than the closes in the sky and more shapely than the roundest melon. Please me… Continue >>>

Brer Rabbit and the Mosquitoes?

Brer Rabbit and the Mosquitoes?

Origin: U.S. Southern African American Theme: Trickery some times works and humor is always great. Brer Wold had a daughter who was sho’ nuf good-looking. Now, before I go any further I can hear you thinking that Brer Wolf been killed off twice. What that got to do with anything? Am I the tale? Is… Continue >>>

Ramayama

Ramayama

Origin: Indian Hindu Theme: The hero can face all adversity and win, and save his love and reunite his family. Many, many, many years ago there was a king in India who had no children. He had three wives but no sons or daughters. He asked a holy man to help him have children. The… Continue >>>

The People Could Fly

The People Could Fly

Origin: U.S. African American Theme: The mystical can help one transcend adversity. There was a time long ago in Africa when the people could fly. They flew like blackbirds up above with their wings shining against the blue sky. When these people were captured into slavery they forgot that they could fly. They shed their… Continue >>>

Keep on Steppin’

Keep on Steppin’

Origin: U.S. African American Theme: Sometimes you have to endure abuse, but you can break free and leave. This is a story about a slave named Dave. And this is a story about how the white slave owner never let Dave become a man. Back in slavery time Dave was slaving on a plantation somewhere… Continue >>>

John the True

John the True

Origin: Scottish Theme: The loyalty of a friend can overcome extreme difficulties. There was once a king. The king’s father had recently died and the son had been far away fighting battles. When he returned to his castle, his best friend since childhood handed him the keys to the castle. “It is yours now, my… Continue >>>

Shaman’s Journey

Shaman’s Journey

Origin: North American Eskimo Theme: Facing danger, maintaining commitment can help one survive. There was a young Eskimo boy who lived in Greenland. He made a sledge. He had a mean mother. When she saw the sledge, she beat him with it. He decided then that he would become an angakoq or shaman. The boy… Continue >>>

Juan Bobo

Juan Bobo

Origin: Mexican Theme: Silliness isn’t always silly, innocence and a kind heart win out. Narrator: Once upon a time many years ago, there was a boy who was so lazy that he seemed stupid. Although he really tried to behave himself, he did nothing but say and do silly things. That is why the whole… Continue >>>

The Dragon’s Robe

The Dragon’s Robe

Origin: Chinese Theme: Overcoming abandonment, poverty, danger and adversity through the creation of beauty. There was a young woman in China named Kwan Yin. Her parents had died and they were very poor, but they had made sure that Kwan Yin had learned a skill when she was very young. They had sent her to… Continue >>>

The Sun, The Moon and the Boy by Jesus Garcia

The Sun, The Moon and the Boy by Jesus Garcia

This story was created by a youth in one of our programs! There was once a boy, a boy who loved the sun. He thought that the sun was his mother. He never had a mother before. He never knew his mother. He always saw other boys with their mothers. He always wondered if he… Continue >>>

Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche

Origin: European Greek Theme: Curiosity can get one in trouble, but devotion and love can mend a difficult situation. There was once a queen and king who had three beautiful daughters. One was particularly beautiful and her name was Psyche. Her beauty was so great that all through the surrounding lands people heard about her… Continue >>>

The White Spider’s Gift

The White Spider’s Gift

Origin: South American Paraguay Theme: Magical help and commitment can win. In a dense forest in Paraguay lived a widow and her only son. His name was Piki. One morning they were walking to the spring to fill their earthen jars with water. Piki stopped and looked at something in the yerba mate bush. “Look,… Continue >>>

Abuela’s Pride

Abuela’s Pride

Origin: Original WHEEL Council Story Theme: Grandmothers have important lessons that can change the adversity of impoverished neighborhoods. Abuela, Pablo’s grandma, usually got up at dawn, but today she felt tired. As she looked out the window, she saw the dirt lawns of the Coffelt Projects where they lived. The houses were tiny and dreary and… Continue >>>

The Children

The Children

Origin: African Yoruba Tribe Theme: The importance of respecting elders and what can happen if one forgets to follow through on an agreement. For a long time the women of the village had been unable to have children. The women were very sad and longed to have children. To deal with this the village had… Continue >>>

La Llorona

La Llorona

Origin: Mexican  Theme: The pain of tragedy and betrayal and how acting in violence can perpetuate the pain. Once in a poor village there lived a young woman. Hers was the greatest beauty of all the maidens in the village, and all the young men of the village for her hand in marriage. But she… Continue >>>

Buffalo Woman

Buffalo Woman

Origin: North American Indigenous Plains Tribe Theme: The loyalty of a son can reunite a family. Narrator: There was a young hunter who was very good at catching game. His tribe relied on him to find buffalo to feed and clothe them. The hunter was very respectful to the buffalo and would only kill what… Continue >>>

The Lizard and the Sun

The Lizard and the Sun

Origin: Central American Theme: The smallest can be the most important and answers are some times right in front of your eyes if you look. We always know that the sun is in the sky. Sometimes we can’t see it, since it is raining or snowing or there are clouds in the sky, but we… Continue >>>

Daniel by Faustino Torres,  Jorge Duarte, and Cruz  Ponce

Daniel by Faustino Torres, Jorge Duarte, and Cruz Ponce

This story was created by a youth in one of our programs! “Clean your room Daniel”, Daniel’s mom screamed from the kitchen. Daniel was seventeen years old and dreamed of being in the air force. Daniel lived with his mom in an old house made out of bricks. He had being training two years doing,… Continue >>>

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