A lot of people seem to find flannel boards terrifying. The thing to remember about flannel boards is that the flannel is kind of irrelevant–what matters is whether you can tell a story or not. That might make it sound even more terrifying, but it isn’t really. A little practise, a lot of funny voices and a few of your own phrases, and you too can tell flannel board stories. I have a couple that I’ve made myself, but mostly I just use pre-made ones–whatever my current library happens to own. I have a few rhymes and songs, but mostly folk and fairy tales. Here are a couple of things I learned from a wonderful and now retired librarian in Washington, DC, who was a storyteller par excellance and a few I’ve learned on my own:
1. Be flamboyant.
2. Be noisy (remember that story time is the one place that quiet never applies, at least for the person who’s presenting/performing it).
3. It’s perfectly okay to ‘cheat’ on your pieces–you are not expected to be the Rembrandt of felt board artists: cut them out of discarded books and glue felt on the back or trace shapes on to felt (or use an Accucut or similar machine, if you are lucky enough to have access to one–I have a lovely five little snowmen made mostly with an Accucut and glitter glue).
4. Repetition is never a bad thing. So what if you did it two weeks ago?
5. If you forget, make it up–just do it with confidence, and your audience will think it’s intentional.
Most of all, remember: chutzpah is your friend!