Homemade Story-Time Tapes

Learn how to record a child's favorite story-time tale blank cassette tapes which includes: story selection, sound effects, taping tactics.

| November/December 1983

Weave Christmas magic with the sound of your voice and a fairy tale.

Nothing quite compares with the warm, subtle pleasure of sharing aloud a beloved story or poem with a child for story-time. And, if your household is anything like mine, you have probably been assailed night and day with requests to "Read me a story, please?" Well, I don't know about you, but I just couldn't bear to see the disappointed look on my little girl's face when I had to tell her, "Later, honey, I'm in the middle of fixing supper right now." It was so frustrating (for me and for her) to have to send her off for the umpteenth time to explore her treasured book in lonely silence. (It's especially disquieting to me because — having been a professional children's theater director and a vocational storyteller — I know how vitally important the spoken word is to young people . . . particularly tots who haven't yet learned to read.)

If finding enough time to read to your children has been a problem for you, too, and one that you'd like to remedy without neglecting your chores, then take heart: I've found a solution! I simply record my child's favorite stories and poems (as well as other selections I think she'd enjoy) on cassette tapes. So now — when I'm unavailable — my daughter can plug in her earphones, turn on her cassette player, and listen to whatever suits her fancy . . . whenever she likes! Sure, it doesn't replace my reading to her in person, but it's the next best thing. Besides, listening to a rollicking rendition of a good story (such as "The Bremen Town Musicians") is an experience a hundred times more individualized, imagination provoking, and mind-enriching than watching those all-too often mediocre television shows. Story-time tapes also make perfect Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. The blank cassettes are inexpensive, and the finished products are easy (and fun) to create. On top of everything else, the recorded narratives are a snap for youngsters to use and wonderfully portable, so children can entertain themselves with them on trips.

Making Stories Come to Life

Creating a tape that has the power to rivet your children's attention isn't merely a matter of sitting down and reading any old story into a microphone. Remember, when your offspring hear the recording, you won't be around to give it extra punch . . . so your voice (along with the voices of other folks you may round up to help out), what ever sound effects and/or music you use, and the basic tale itself will have to do al! the work in casting the spell of make believe.

Don't worry, though, making a recording come to life isn't difficult. With a bit of research, preparation, practice, and panache, you ought to be turning out imagination gripping tapes in no time! And, once you start delving into (and transposing) children's literature, you're probably going to discover that making tapes can be as enriching an experience for you as listening to them will be for your young ones.

To Begin With. . .

Finding a story that lends itself to this purpose will take a bit of searching on your part. You may already have some "old favorite" prospects at home. Even so, spend a morning or two at your local library or bookstore: Plant yourself in the children's section and read, read, read. Ask the librarian or salesperson for advice. And look over every prospective story very carefully. After all, if a tale doesn't enchant you at the first reading, chances are it won't fascinate your child, either. On the other hand, if you find one you really like, read it over several times, looking for the following recordable characteristics:

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