I love November, it means Tellabration! All over the world, storytelling events are being held to promote the oral tradition of storytelling.
Over 20 years ago, my director sent me and a fellow teacher out to Tennessee for the National Storytelling festival, a weekend event. I have to admit, I really did not know what to expect. When we arrived, there were tents spread out over a large area. In each tent there was a stage and rows and rows of chairs. As we walked around, we learned that in each tent a storyteller would tell a different type of story (fables, folktales, historical tales, adult stories, scary stories and not so scary stories known as jump tales, to name a few).
Finally we chose a tent and sat down. Soon after, a bus pulled up and a group of boys around the age of 8 or 9 stepped out. They entered the tent we were in and sat down in front of us. They were chatting excitedly and we were sure we would not be able to hear the storyteller. But we were wrong, as soon as the teller came out and began to speak, the boys immediately quieted and were transfixed by the tells words. As she spoke she created mental pictures of the scene as well as the characters , as if each character stood before us. I found myself watching the boys in amazement. They sat motionless, as if someone was reading rather than telling them a story. The entire audience was captivated by the teller! She used her voice and vocal intonation, as well as hand gestures and body movements to tell the tale. After observing all this, both my fellow teacher and I were hooked. We realized we had just witnessed a valuable teaching tool.
It’s easy to understand why these children were captivated, children first learn by listening to sounds which builds the foundation for language so they can learn new words and vocabulary and finally, read. Storytelling allows children to use their imagination to create the characters and scenes in the mind’s eye. And finally, listening to stories being told builds excitement for books and motivates children to want to read.
Simply go to www.storynet.org to find a Tellabration story event in your area.
We hope you will attend one of these events with your child, it will be a rare and wonderful treat!