A List of Storytelling Resources for Teachers – Our thanks for all you do

A List of Storytelling Resources for Teachers – Our thanks for all you do

It’s the season for giving thanks and at the Timpanogos Storytelling Institute we are grateful for the many teachers and librarians who touch the lives of students with their storytelling. To show our appreciation, we have compiled a list of resources to help you enhance your storytelling.Timpchat- teachers

Whether you are a teacher, a librarian, or a parent you know that storytelling is one of the best tools to engage students and get them involved in active learning.  We are all hardwired for stories. Current research supports this theory and offers new resources to educate the educators on this powerful tool.

“(Storytelling) is unsurpassed as a tool for learning about ourselves, about the ever-increasing information available to us, and about the thoughts and feelings of others,”  says The National Council of Teachers of English “Guideline on Teaching Storytelling.” Check out this helpful resource here. 

Further evidence of the impact of oral storytelling on learning can be found at Storynet -Advocacy.org which has compiled a list of research papers and quantitative studies.

So with that in mind, here is a list of resources that will help you 1) enhance your lessons through storytelling, 2) engage the students in active learning, and 3) explore the resources available to you through the storytelling community. This list is in no way comprehensive but it’s a good start.

  1. Resources to help you enhance your lessons with storytelling. I’m not talking about becoming good at reading stories aloud, although that is a worthy goal, but about using personal, traditional or historical stories to illuminate a subject. There are a number of online resources to help you develop your skill as a storyteller.

2. Resources for creating opportunities for your students to tell their own tales. Students learn by doing, so create storytelling assignments which are performance-based or technology-based.  Performance-based storytelling projects help them develop confidence in public speaking, while technology-based projects are always exciting for students and help them to develop needed computer skills.

  • Myth-Off – A storytelling competition where four storytellers battle with mythologies. For more information, click on this article from the National Storytelling Network.
  • Stop Motion animation– Stop motion is an exciting option for students to prepare and tell a story. This website offers a free, simple-to-use software download for MAC. Other options for technology-based storytelling presentations include videos and voice recordings.

3.  Create opportunities for your students to listen to great tellers

  • Utah State Office of Education Professional Outreach Program to Schools (POPS) – Timpanogos Storytelling is offering free storytelling events at Utah schools. Due to high demand, our spaces for the 2014-15 school year are filled and we are no longer accepting applications.  However, if you would like to be contacted about visits in the 2015-16 school year, please feel out the form below or contact Eliot Wilcox about questions at ewilcox.timpfest@gmail.com or 801-228-1350.
  • If your school is in Utah County, a storyteller can be scheduled for an assembly at your school during the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. The coordinator is Stephanie Ashton, or anytime during the school year by contacting a storyteller directly.
  • There are a number of storytellers who have posted YouTube videos of their stories. One example is David Heathfield who tells Juan and the Magic Tree (Filipino)
  • The Orem Public Library has an impressive collection of storytelling resources available for everyone. Videos, audio recordings and picture books can all be found in their online catalogue.

Check out the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival website for a schedule of upcoming events, and check your local library’s calendar of events.

Do you have some resources that you use to enhance storytelling in your classroom? Please share them with us.


Radio Programs that Celebrate Story

Radio Programs that Celebrate Story

While face-to-face storytelling is the ideal,  most of us can’t attend storytelling festivals or sit around a campfire each weekend so we have to get our fill through other mediums such as radio, which is still one of the best places to find great oral storytelling.

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Think about Orson Welles’ notorius “War of the Worlds”, which I recently found out was broadcast the same week my father was born. This historic broadcast, and the public’s reaction to it, demonstrated what a perfect medium radio can be to show the power of the human imagination.  Lou Orfanlla explains, “Radio has the power to individualize its presentation within the mind of each and every listener. There is an intimacy and shared vision that it creates.”

Radio dramas of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s are the roots of today’s TV comedy, drama, adventure, mystery, and science fiction. Did you know that serialized dramas began on the radio as 15 minute segments that were sponsored by soap companies. They eventually became known as “soap operas”. In the heyday of radio these soap operas could be heard between variety shows with a wide range of genres. Today’s TV shows are descended from great radio programs such as Saturday Night Theater, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, and Laurel and Hardy.

While TV, movies and Youtube videos have become the go-to for many when they want to hear a story,  the power of radio that makes this medium a great option. There has been a resurgence of storytelling on the radio, which has moved away from the serialized story and is more often formatted around a weekly theme with autobiographical stories. The Moth Radio Hour is a popular program which highlights true stories told by seasoned and novice storytellers alike. The Moth Radio Hour a broadcast based in NYC and can be heard in the Salt Lake area on KCPW on Saturdays at 11:00 am – 12 noon. 

Storytelling has become somewhat of a movement in NYC and around the country. Other radio shows that use a similar format of true stories told by everyday people are Snap Judgement (storytelling with a beat), Risk (true tales, boldly told) , True Story (a night of true tales told to friends), StoryCorps (one of the largest oral history projects of its kind), and a favorite mentioned in an earlier blog post, This American Life. All of these have archived podcasts which can be found on their websites.

While true stories told by everyday people have really gained a following, there is something to be said about the art of the traditional tale skillfully told by professional storytellers. One weekly radio broadcast that really celebrates this ancient art is The Apple Seed on BYU Radio.

On The Apple Seed you’ll hear everything from traditional fairytales, to interviews with storytellers, Jewish tales, scary tales, Southern tales, stories for and about girls, The Odyssey, Lou Gehrig, Grimm, Ray Bradbury and many others. You’re bound to find some of your favorite storytellers on The Apple Seed as well.  The most recent broadcast was from the Four Corners Storytelling Festival which featured Alton ChungAndy Offut Irwin,The StorycraftersDan Keding and Evelyn Roper. And just take a look at some of the past performers that have been featured on The Apple Seed:

Clare MurphyDiane FerlatteKim WeitkampGeraldine BuckleyMotokoDonald DavisDavid HoltDonna WashingtonSimon Brooks, Tim Lowry, and Jay O’Callahan, among others.

What a great resource for teachers, families, and anyone wanting something great to listen to on their lunch break! You can catch The Apple Seed live on air weekdays at noon or go to BYU Radio for the podcast.

So, when you really want to fire up your imagination, turn off the TV and head for the glow of your computer to find a radio program that celebrates the art of storytelling.

Do you have a favorite storytelling radio program? Leave a comment and share it with us.