Storytelling: Art and Technique

By Ellin Greene | Go to book overview
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10
Children and Young Adults
as Storytellers

I never knew how much thought went into telling a story It's hard, but it was
fun. I was so nervous when I first got up to tell my story, but by the end of the
week I actually enjoyed telling it. If I can do that I think I can do anything.

Eighth grader1

CHILDREN IN THE MIDDLE and upper grades enjoy telling stories to younger children, and younger children respond enthusiastically. The tenyear-old who shuns the library story hour as a program "for babies" may rediscover the power of stories as he or she relates them to peers or younger listeners.

The child as teller may seem a contemporary idea but in fact it was practiced in early library work with children. For instance, in 1917, the New York Public Library had 46 reading clubs with a membership of nearly 1,000 boys and girls. That year a special meeting was held to welcome Marie Shedlock to Staten Island. Each club sent a representative to the meeting. One young representative made this tribute to Marie Shedlock:

Three or four years ago we were content to read stories and plays, but dur-
ing the past two winters we have tried to tell stories ourselves and thus,
Miss Shedlock, our ambition has been aroused to further your great work
in reviving the art of storytelling.2

Across the country creative librarians and teachers are introducing children to the art of storytelling and reading aloud, and a cadre of professional storytellers are making possible more storytelling residences in schools.

Lucretia Lipper, Young Adult Librarian at East Brunswick (N.J.) Public Library, reports that the Teen Library Connection, or TLC, has been an exciting program since 1980. The program came about as a response to a patron's query for a meaningful activity for her daughter who was "too old for day camp and too young for a paying job." The library staff identified a sufficient number of teens in the same position to make offering a program worthwhile, and the Friends of the East Brunswick Library gen

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