The Story Performance Handbook

The Story Performance Handbook

The Story Performance Handbook

The Story Performance Handbook

Synopsis

The Story Performance Handbook provides specific, detailed information to help adults develop basic skills in reading aloud, mediated storytelling, and storytelling. Organized sequentially, each chapter moves the reader from the easiest (reading aloud picture books) to the most difficult (creating your own stories for telling) storytelling experience, cumulatively building story performance skill in selecting, preparing, and delivering stories and poetry to audiences. This structure allows individuals to begin reading at various points depending on their prior experience with story performance. The text includes several features that make learning to perform stories and poetry easy to understand and manage: * Explicit, thorough advice avoids confusion, such as how to select, prepare, and deliver stories and poetry via reading aloud, mediated storytelling, and storytelling. * The sequential chapter organization, progressing from easiest to most difficult, and Developmental and Culminating Activities at the end of each skill chapter, enable this text to be used either independently or in conjunction with courses or workshops in story performance. * Unique among story performance texts, instruction is based not only on the author's own extensive experience but also on empirical research related to teaching adults to tell stories. * Specific information is easily located throughout the text: Processes are presented in bold type, numbered sequentially and, at the end of specific chapters, skill building activities are provided. Figures (which provide additional detailed information) are boxed. Examples of processes are highlighted with background shading.

Excerpt

In the spring of 1977 when I first arrived at Wayne State University and met Don Bissett, the senior faculty member of the Children's Literature Center to which I would be assigned, his first words to me were: “Get ready to teach the storytelling course. It will be offered in the fall.” I'd never told a story formally before then and, with only a few months to prepare myself, you can imagine my feelings at the prospect of teaching this course. Aside from the anxiety of assuming the role of professor of a performance course (unlike the academic courses I'd previously taught), I experienced a much more basic emotion—the fear of telling a story to an audience of adults. Today, although I can now confidently deliver stories to a wide variety of audiences, including adults, I have not forgotten that initial anxiety and have come to recognize it as the single most serious impediment for adult beginning storytellers.

Needless to say, in the intervening years since I taught that first storytelling class and thanks to the patience and understanding of the many graduate students who have enrolled in the course, I've learned a great deal about storytelling, in particular, techniques for helping adults develop basic storytelling competence and confidence. From a very subjective perspective, I believe the techniques I've used in the course have been effective. I'm satisfied that my current students emerge from the course as successful beginning storytellers. I have, however, begun to subject specific teaching/learning theory and technique to empirical examination and have designed additional experimentation for the years to come. Thus, the learning will continue in a more objective and rigorous fashion. I believe, however, that the time has come to share with others what I have learned about . . .

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