The art of storytelling is probably is old as the use of language. Before the development of writing, stories were passed down by word of mouth, forming a tradition of oral literature. It takes imagination to tell stories and, of course, imagination to listen.

Sample some of the following activities to learn more about storytelling.


Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources    Bibliography

Places To Go

The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about storytelling.

American Folklore
Virtually travel to the American South of the 1800s and explore the origin of the Brer Rabbit tales. They had their roots in Africa. Most slaves captured in Africa and transported to the Americas brought nothing with them but their language, histories, and the stories they had heard all their lives in Africa.
Arabian Nights
In this story, the king of Persia had developed a bad habit of marrying a young woman, spending one night with her, and then beheading her and marrying a new person. Scheherazade was the lovely young girl whose storytelling skills were so superb that she kept the king entertained night after night with her fascinating tales so that he didn’t have the heart to cut off her head
Der Struwwelpeter (Shaggy Peter)
Travel to Germany in the 1800s and listen to the Struwwelpeter stories. The goal of these children’s stories was to teach good manners and lessons of appropriate behavior. By today’s standards, they are somewhat shocking as well as amusing.
Kiss The Blarney Stone
To become a great storyteller, travel to Ireland and visit the Blarney Stone. If you kiss the Blarney Stone, you will receive the gift of eloquence.
The Moonlit Road 
Tip toe down the Moonlit Road. It's a collection of scary stories from the American south told by professional storytellers
National Storytelling Festival
Travel to the National Storytelling Festival and rub shoulders with the best.
Timpanogas Storytelling Festival
Visit scenic Mt. Timpanogas and experience one of the best storytelling festivals in the U.S.
Will Rogers
Visit the Will Rogers Historic Museum. He was a storyteller and entertainer from the early 1900s who told such good stories that he was able to captivate audiences across the United States. He told stories at the 1904 World’s Fair, on Broadway as part of the Ziegfield Follies, on his famous radio program, in a newspaper column, and at one-man sold-out performances

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People To See

Barry McWilliams
Listen to the stories of Barry McWilliam. Find out about his storytelling techniques. His Effective Storytelling: A Manual for Beginners is an excellent resource with many applications to classroom teaching.
The Call of Story
Visit with 6 prominent storytellers: Carmen Deedy, Syd Lieberman, Dovie Thomason-Sickles, Donald Davis, Waddie Mitchell, and Rex Ellis and get ideas for honing your storytelling skills.
Geoffrey Chaucer
Get to know Geoffrey Chaucer. He was a master storyteller
Jay O'Callahan - Where Imagination Meets the Spoken Word
Meet Jay O'Callahan, professional storyteller. Read his advice on creating stories.

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Things To Do

Aaron Shepard's Storytelling Page
Resources for storytelling (or story telling), including the acclaimed series Gifts of Story
Educational Web site, designed for teachers, librarians, and students,explores the use of storytelling in the classroom to enhance speaking, listening, reading and writing skills
Storytelling is truly an art. Read style tips from professional storytellers and hear RealAudio clips of their stories
Tools of the Storyteller
Discover the traits of tellable tales.

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Teacher Resources

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  • Barton, Bob and Booth, David. Stories in the Classroom. Pembroke Publishers.1990
  • Barton, Bob. Tell Me Another: Storytelling and Reading Aloud at Home, at School and in the Community. Pembroke Publishers. 1986
  • Cassady, Marsh. Storytelling Step By Step. San Jose, Calif.: Resource Publications, c1990.
  • Cullum, Carolyn N. The Storytime Sourcebook: A Compendium of Ideas and Resources for Storytellers. New York: Neal-Schuman, c1990.
  • Hamilton, Martha. Through the Grapevine: World Tales Kids CanR & Tell. Little Rock: August House Publishers, 2001.
  • Lipkin, Lisa. Bringing the Story Home: the Complete Guide to Storytelling. New York: W.W. Norton, c2000.
  • Pellowski, Anne. The World of Storytelling. Bronx, NY: H.W. Wilson, 1990.
  • Pellowski, Anne. The Storytelling Handbook. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
  • Shelley, Marshall. Telling Stories to Children. Batavia, Ill., USA : Lion Pub. Co., 1990.
  • Simmons, Annette. Secrets of Influence from the Art of Storytelling. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus, c2001.