How To Get Started in Storytelling

The following compilation of articles by Ada Forney
will provide you with a starting point for your storytelling career.
What is storytelling? Why do we tell stories?

Stories teach, entertain, immortalize, pay tribute to, help us remember, heal and they encourage multicultural understanding. Stories teach us about our roots, our culture our family history. They teach us to be moral people in a sometimes immoral world. They teach us how to be good parents, to choose peace over violence, love over hatred, to be spiritually strong and to be compassionate to others.

For me, storytelling is the transmission of multicultural history and wisdom. It includes: historical stories, oral tradition stories, folklore, folktales, folkways, story songs, ballads, poems, rhymes, riddles, dramatic presentation and more! (See section on the various types of stories.) Combine them with factual information, graphics and on and off-line resources and you create a powerful tool to use in your classroom and in life.

Stories stay with us when we make them interesting and entertaining. When a student remembers the story, they remember the facts layered within them for a longer time. At the heart of each story are kernals, or seeds, of truth and lessons to be learned. Among the most precious, are the Elder Stories told by the wise sages who lived these tales. They are teaching tools that show us what life was like in another time and place. We learn more about history, economics and real life from the stories our elders who lived them. So stories are important tools in life, in school and in all the varied aspects of being human.

There is also a commonality of story across cultures. The myth of the hero, the trickster hero, the transformer hero, the wise fool hero, and the sacrificial hero are common to all races and cultures. There are many wise fool stories. Examples: the Nazrudin Hadja stories from Turkey, the Jack Tales from Appalachia, "Cracker" Jack tales from Florida and more . Therefore stories can build bridges across diverse cultures. Find a story or song common to different cultures and you form the basis for acceptance and understanding. ( For more information, see Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung.)

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