Storytelling: Art and Technique

By Ellin Greene | Go to book overview

Preface

SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF the second edition of Storytelling: Art and Technique, storytelling organizations at the national, regional, state, and local levels have grown at a tremendous pace. The increased number of professional storytellers has brought storytelling to coffeehouses, theaters, concert halls, and festivals across the country, as well as to libraries and schools. Perhaps we have not yet seen "the renaissance of the troubadours and minstrels whose appeal will then rival that of the mob orator or itinerant politician" of which Marie Shedlock wrote in her introduction to The Art of the Story-Teller (Appleton, 1915), but storytellers have been featured on WABC-TV's Good Morning America, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, in airline magazines, and the Wall Street Journal.

Renewed interest in storytelling on the part of adults, and the research that demonstrated a positive relationship between hearing stories in early childhood and later emerging literacy, encouraged public librarians to reorder their story-hour priorities. Storytelling programs for infants and toddlers and their caregivers were added, while story hours for children in the middle age-group, that is, between the ages of 8 and 11, decreased in number. This trend became stronger as greater emphasis was placed on the children's librarian as manager or administrator of the children's room and less time was spent on story selection and preparation. The availability of professional storytellers, and the feelings of inadequacy that many librarians and teachers experienced as they compared their own storytelling with the polished performances of the professional tellers, also played a part in the decline of story hours for older children.

But storytelling has much to offer older children and young adults. In communities where other activities compete for the older child's attention and formal story hours do not attract listeners, librarians have discovered that these youngsters enjoy learning and practicing the art of storytelling themselves.

The whole language movement in the schools has made teachers more aware of the storytelling literature and how to use it in the classroom. The great wave of immigrants in recent years (in 1993, for example, more than 65,000 immigrant children from 188 countries entered the public school system in New York City) has impelled librarians and teachers to look for

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