The Storyteller
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Benefits of Storytelling
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Benefits of Storytelling

Engagement ~ Attention ~ Processing ~ Sequencing ~ Memory

The way Angela targeted each grade level’s interests andheld their attention with her varied tales was truly amazingand the kids will remember it for the rest of their lives.  The biggest story came when a boy in third grade, who normally doesn’t make connections or retain much detail from day to day, came up and asked if this was the book the ‘The Storyteller’ told them about.  You can not imagine my surprise and his smile when I assured him that it was indeed and he checked it out and showed all of his friends.  They ooh-ed and aah-ed and asked if they might have it when was done with it!  Just further proof that hearing stories told live is a key component in children’s learning.  We look forward to having Angela back again!”
Heidi Doyle - Librarian, Hillsboro-Deering Elementary School, NH

        The very act of processing oral storytelling by listeners requires both hemispheres of the brain, the left side for logic and language, the right side for symbol and metaphor.  As such, this process is active participation, leaving listeners engaged, balanced and centered, there by fostering critical thinking, conflict resolution, character, emotional intelligence and students’ emotional investment in the curriculum content being presented.

        As a “storied child,” registered nurse and mother of three, it is exhilarating to at long last see such easily accessed documented research, which validates what I have intuitively known all along and am delighted to be able to share the following references to oral storytelling, brain development, neural plasticity, neural pathways and education compiled by storytelling colleagues.

Why Get Storytelling into the Classroom?

National Storytelling Network (NSN) 2000 Conference
“Why Get Storytelling in Schools” reprinted with permission by Chris Vinsonhaler
1017 La Fontaine, Ocearn Springs, MS 39564 - (601) 872-8109

Research links involvement with oral storytelling to impressive gains in language acquisition, listening skills, retention, creative intelligence, and interpersonal skill.  In addition, storytelling is an extremely effective tool for building a sense of community.

The Language Pyramid ~ Cognitive Development

Listening ~ Speaking ~ Reading ~ Writing

  1. Oral storytelling enhances the retention of information. (Applebee 1978)
  2. Storytelling improves language comprehension, encourages vocabulary development, and increases facility with language forms.
  3. Students who tell and re-tell stories experience significant improvement in language development. (Farrell and Nessel 1984)
  4. Storytelling improves listening skills, which are directly linked to reading achievement. (Goodman 1967)
  5. Storytelling, by actively engaging the listener in a rich imaginative experience, improves creative thinking skills.(Farrell and Nessel 1984)

Community Pyramid ~ Community Building

Cooperation ~ Shared Culture ~ Respect for Diversity ~ Individual Expression

  1. Storytelling improves cooperative skills through interaction between teller and listeners. (Livo 19890)
  2. Oral storytelling creates and preserves culture, and enables authentic experience of other cultures. (Hamilton 1987; Dundes 1969)
  3. Oral storytelling teaches appreciation for cultural diversity. (Bryan 1990)
  4. Oral storytelling brings together listeners of all ages. (Livo 1988)
  5. Oral storytelling involves the listener as an active co-creator and offers opportunities for creative peership. (Sutton 1983)

Youth, Educators, and Storytelling Alliance

Visit NSN the National Storytelling Network website for links to the Youth, Educators and Storytelling Alliance” at:  www.storynet.org

Partially underwritten by a NSN grant and researched, compiled and written by Jackie Baldwin & Kate Dudding - for a printable booklet and brochure noting quantitative studies, innovative programs & curriculum applications visit: www.storytellinginschools.org

Storytelling & Neural Development

Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story by Kendall Haven 2007.  Libraries Unlimited.  ISBN:  978-1-59158-546-6

Researched-Based Strategies to IGNITE Student Learning by Judy Willis, M.D. 2006.  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. - www.ascd.org - ISBN 1-4166-0370-0  The first book for K-12 educators written by an author who is both a neurologist and a classroom teacher.

Now is an exciting and pivotal time to be an educator.  Neruoimaging and brain mapping research . . . have given us a science of education to add to our already powerful knowledge of the art of teaching.  The potential for discovering the most effective ways to educate is unlimited.” 
Judy Willis, M.D., Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning

Catch the Storybug Newsletter

For links to the National Council of Teachers of English Statement on Storytelling;  Neural Research; Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and their applications to storytelling;  and Benefits of Folktales and Storytelling, visit storyteller and author Karen Chase, who offers a global feast of folktale websites & a smorgasbord of sites focusing on Oral History, Crafts, Arts Education, Puppetry, Grants, Teaching Tools & more in her Catch the Storybug Newsletter” and “Welcome Teachers” section at:  www.storybug.net

For more information about Storytelling,

Resources, the community and calendar of events, concerts and conferences both near and far visit:

National Storytelling Network  -  www.storynet.org
National Storytelling Directory, Storytelling Resources, Special Interest Groups, Storytelling Magazine, the annual October National Storytelling Festival and National Storytelling Conference.

League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling  -  www.lanes.org
LANES - Dedicated to the appreciation and promotion of the art of storytelling and special events of New England’s and upstate New York’s storytelling community.  Website information and resources include The Museletter, The New England Directory of Storytelling, Courses, Workshops, Organizations, Story Sharing Groups - including NH Guilds, Concerts & Festivals, November Tellabration Concert Sites & Annual Sharing the Fire Northeast Storytelling Conference.

Central New Hampshire Storytelling Guild  -  cnhsg.net
The CNHSG hosts story swaps, organizes and produces various story venues and concerts throughout the year, including an annual November Tellabration concert, an international storytelling event..

August House Publishing -  www.augusthouse.com
Largest publisher of storytelling related materials in the US,
visit on line or call for a free catalog at 1-800-284-8784.

Dover Publications - www.doverpublications.com
Many wonderful collections and titles available at very affordable prices. 

Libraries Unlimited & Teacher Ideas Press - www.lu.com
A wide variety of storytelling related material, from history and science to world folktale collections.

Angela C. Klingler, The Storyteller

Updated 2/6/2011