Friday, April 10, 2009


by Paschal Baute, April 2009

Children love stories. They love listening to stories. They love a good storyteller. They admire a good storyteller. From thee third graders' this past week, I had these questions. Where do you get your stories? Did you tells stories when you were a child? What is your inspiration for storyteling? (sic) Third grace!

Asked if they would like to learn a scary story to tell a sister or brother, mom or dad, or grandpa or a playmate or friend, they will jump at the chance.

(P.S. I have evidence, as I am already doing it, in public schools and at Shriners.)

Stories excite the imagination because they are about adventure and cunning, and new possibilities. Children live in wonder and awe about their world, about nature, about family and love, and scary stuff like encountering monsters and overcoming adversity.

In listening, they learn language skills and values. When children tell stores, the rewards are greater. Telling soirees improve their expressive language skills, stimulates creative thinking, and encourage new ways to connect with others. Through risk taking , they experience personal growth. They develop appreciation for the diversity of people, places and cultures. Leading to enjoy the performing arts increases their language skills. Above all, they gain a love of language and stories that is forever their own.

We suggest, along with many other educators, including Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, that storytelling is an important life skill. It is hard to be successful if one is not an effective communicator. The ability to tell a story well may be the most underestimated of skills today. But a renaissance of interest in storytelling is underway, even teaching that storytelling is the "secret language of leadership." (Steven Dening, book of this title, rated number one "business book of the year by Financial Times in 2007.

Storytelling gives children a "leg up,"" a jump in acquiring skills for communicating effectively and for leadership.

Storytelling emphasizes both speaking and listening, as well as skills of persuasion–all skills necessary in every profession and walk of life.

The moiré children are given the opportunity early in life to acquire these skills, the more at ease and effective they can be with others as they accept new responsibilities. I have taught many young people and children to ski, for example. When one is not very big or tall, failing is no great deal. Those skills of balance and confident are conducive to self-confidence and the ability to risk oneself in other life-adventures.

Several Spellbinder storytellers in Lexington are inviting others to join in the offering of classes to teach children to tell stories. One is being offered this summer by the Lexington Public Library, called "Become a Star." Check you local library of information.,

Main reference: Stories in My Pocket: tales Kids Can tell, by Martha Hamilton and Mitch weiss.