Blogger Teresa Walls

Professional Reading: Raising Voices: Creating Youth Storytelling Groups and Troupes

Everyone has a story to tell. And with chapters about setting goals and objectives, organizing meetings, teaching storytelling skills, coaching, and lots more, Raising Voices: Creating Youth Storytelling Groups and Troupes by Judy Sima and Kevin Cordi (Libraries Unlimited, 2003) is a helpful tool for librarians and educators to encourage young people to practice the art of storytelling. The authors include examples from their own experiences with children, grades four and up, along with activities to help children get acquainted, to teach children storytelling skills and to strengthen their storytelling skills. Sample permission forms and letters (such as a Request for Permission to Tell) are also provided.

One of my favorite activities in the book is Bare Bone Fables (p. 103-106). Students develop a group telling based on the “skeletal outline” of a fable. The authors write,

Emphasize that they are going to “tell” a group story. Discuss the difference between “telling” a story and “acting it out.” In telling a group story, the group stands side by side facing the audience. The audience is told rather than shown what is happening. The group may use a narrator to introduce the story and move it alone (…) Gestures and descriptions should be used rather than acting out the parts of the story. Encourage participants to use their own words but not to write anything down, otherwise it becomes a script. (p. 103)

I imagine that activity could be part of a one-time program on storytelling too. I’d love to hear how storytelling fits into your programming and about any storytelling resources you have found useful.

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