Storytelling Beginnings

 

Forty years ago I volunteered to tell stories in my son’s kindergarten class.  It was so much fun that I continued the tradition with each one of my seven children. Throughout the years Rose the Story Lady has appeared at Jackson Ave. Elementary wearing her story apron. Visual objects relating to the stories are placed in the pockets and listeners are invited to take turns picking a story pocket. I enjoy using participatory  storytelling which actively involves the listener. My collection of stories includes folktales, current literature and stories I have written.  After twenty-six years of having a child continuously at Jackson Ave., my son went to Middle School and I was still able to “finangle” an occasionally storytelling session.  I share stories when I work as a substitute teacher.  Now that I have eight grandchildren, I have begun telling stories in my Grandchildren’s classrooms whenever I have the opportunity.

Twenty years ago, because I did volunteer storytelling, I was invited to come join my son’s summer school class to hear a professional storyteller.  At the appropriate time, two classes assembled in the multipurpose room but there was no storyteller!  After a few minutes, I asked the teachers, “Would you like me to tell the children a story?”  And I pulled a story out of my memory and told it.  An announcement came over the loudspeaker.  The storyteller was delayed.  Students were to return to their classrooms.  The storyteller, who had accidentally recorded the booking for the next day, was now on her way and would arrive at 10:00.  At 10:00 three classes gathered in the multipurpose room.  Still no storyteller.  As we waited, I mentally rehearsed two stories—just in case.  As I told those stories and felt almost 100 children fall under the spell of storytelling, I thought, “Wow!  I CAN do this!  This is fun!”

The professional storyteller meanwhile had gotten off the freeway in a town 10 miles away.  (This must surely have qualified as her “worst nightmare day.”)  I rearranged my schedule and remained on campus.  I told a story at the 11:00 assembly and then the storyteller arrived.   She was wonderful!  I loved listening to her.  And the next summer, I was the storyteller hired to tell at summer school!    

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