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In a world of high-stakes testing, an ever-increasing drive toward technology, and resources stretched to the limit, why dedicate time and attention to the ancient art of storytelling? It’s a valid question, and the answer can transform the way educators teach, students learn, and the entire school community grows, until everyone achieves academically, socially and emotionally. We realize that’s a bold claim, but it’s a claim that is backed up by a growing body of research into the academic, social, and emotional benefits of story.

Academically, using stories as an educational tool can improve memory and recall of information, increase comprehension and analysis skills, and build capacity for creativity and problem-solving. Stories have long been used to model social norms and teach ethical behavior, and they can be used effectively to build strong relationships and a sense of community in the classroom. And when teachers and students tell the story of their own experiences in ways that emphasize progress and positive growth, they prime themselves for future success.

Here in Utah, students and educators have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the art of oral storytelling. We have one of the very best storytelling festivals in the world right in our backyard at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point. In addition, generous funding from the Utah State Board of Education’s POPS program and Utah Arts and Museums have provided resource materials to help Utah teachers bring storytelling into the classroom where students and teachers alike can benefit from the art.

To learn more about the benefits of storytelling, see the following:

The Storytelling Animal by Jonathon Gottschall

Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story by Kendall Haven

Engaging Teens with Story edited by Janice M. Del Negro and Melanie A. Kimball

TEDxRiodelaPlata Fernando Salem (in Spanish with English subtitles)

TED2016 Uri Hasson


Field trips are fun, and a field trip to one of the largest and most successful storytelling festivals in the United States is an opportunity that should not be missed. The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival includes special sessions for Utah schools. These 1-hour performances include two of our featured tellers, plus one of our National Youth storytellers, performers ages 5-18 who have earned a spot on our Festival stage. Not only do they enjoy stories from the best professional storytellers in the nation, students also see their peers–kids just like them–on stage telling stories. It’s a great way to kickoff a story-full school year!

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Timpanogos Storytelling Institute
5107 Edgewood Drive
Provo, UT 84604

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We respect your privacy and do not tolerate spam and will never sell, rent, lease or give away your information (name, address, email, etc.) to any third party.