There is something quite satisfyingly old fashioned about listening to a story told by a talented storyteller. It gives me imagined nostalgia for the oral tradition and a time when bards traveled the country, sharing their stories, or a time when families gathered around their radios. Which is where the site Storynory comes into the picture. While it is more tech in its delivery than a bard or a radio, its essence is still the oral tradition.
I discovered Storynory quite a while ago and have been meaning to share it, but kept forgetting. I already shared Robert Munsch's free mp3 stories, but if you are looking for stories for a bit older group of kids Storynory.com is AMAZING! There are hundreds of stories including a huge selection of original stories which are surprisingly good. The majority of them better than most published children's books I read. It is harder than you would think to make stories that both adults and children like, but Storynory has nailed it.
Natasha is the storyteller. She has a wonderful British accent and does entertaining character voices. We have listened to most of the Bertie the Prince stories, Katie the Ordinary Witch, Tick Tock Turkey and all have been hits, especially with my five year old daughter.
We mostly listen to the stories in the car either burned onto an mp3 disc, or by plugging in a phone or ipod to our stereo. I also turn them on at night for my five year old in a pretty successful plot to keep her from coming out of the bedroom half a dozen times before she goes to sleep. Though one night I forgot to limit how many stories played, and she listened to them for 2 1/2 hours before she came out of her room at 11:30pm asking for more. Oops.
The easiest way to download the stories is to treat them like a podcast and get them via the RSS feed links provided on the Storynory site. For convenience I have provided some of the links below. Storynory does have a main podcast link that gives you a different story and different character for each episode, but I, and my children, prefer to be able to pick out which stories they want and listen to, and listen to multiple ones of the same character, thus I choose to subscribe to each feed separately.
If you are unfamiliar with podcasts they are typically mp3 recordings, focused on a topic, usually delivered somewhat regularly. Most often they are radio type shows, interviews, or in this case stories. (There are also video, pdf, and epub podcasts which deliver other types of digital content regularly). Usually you can download episodes individually via a website, or another, easier option is to use a podcast app. A podcast app will notify you when new episodes are available, and more efficiently download and play the files.
For your desktop computer or apple device you can use the podcast section in iTunes. Alternatively, for mobile devices, you can use the podcast app that comes on the iPhone, or download a dedicated podcast apps from Google Play. For Android, I use BeyondPod. Usually you can search for the podcast from an app, but some podcasts, like the individual feeds for each story series on Storynory will not show up through a search. For podcasts that cannot be found via search you have to copy and paste the link for the RSS feed into the app.
As far as I can tell Storynory gets money from a sponsorship from Audible.com as well as selling some ebooks via Amazon and apps via The App Store. If you like these stories, I encourage you to support their site through their products or by donation.
For convenience I have included the RSS Feed links for various subscriptions to Storynory.com below:
Right click on the link and select, "Copy link address" and then paste it in your podcast app. From storynory.com the links are at the bottom of each story series's description where it says "RSS feed for these stories." Enjoy!
Storynory - Katie the Ordinary Witch
Storynory - Bertie the Prince
Storynory - Tick Tock Turkey
Storynory - Astropup
Storynory - Waking Beauty
Storynory - Chix
Storynory - Wiked Uncle
Storynory - Zoo Stories
Storynory - Jack and the Pirate School
Storynory - Rockfords Rock Opera