Storytelling in the Classroom

Overview of Programs

I offer both storytelling performances and storytelling workshops, with each one individually designed for a specific age range and group size. One popular format begins with a storytelling performance, followed by a directed discussion with students, based upon the content, vocabulary, style, socio-cultural information, moral message, or other appropriate and relevant narrative aspects of the stories they have just experienced.

Another effective and enriching program is "Storyteller-in-Residence", in which I visit classroom for 45 minutes to an hour every day for a week, leading students in storytelling games and activities; the week usually culminates in a student group performance of one or more stories, either from a specific folk tradition, or an original narrative composed by the students.

My selection of story(ies) for performance in a classroom setting is decided upon ahead of time in consultation with the childrens' teacher, and will ideally connect with a specific area of current classroom curriculum, or perhaps be seasonally appropriate.

Nearly every topic relating to childhood learning and development has a corresponding story(s) that can effectively be told and analyzed in a classroom setting with positive and exciting results, both for children and their teachers. The storyteller's job is simply to connect children and teachers with those stories, in a fun, dynamic and instructive way!

How I Tell

Every storyteller has a different style of telling, and mine is what I like to call "dynamic". This means that I use my whole body - literally from head to toe! - to get a story across. I also use a wide range of sound effects - animal noises, creaky doors, plain ol' silly sounds, etc. - to embellish my telling, and at times I invite my audience to participate and "help" me tell a story.

Audience Etiquette for Storytelling

Before my arrival, it is a good idea to talk with your class about how to be an attentive and respectful audience for a storytelling event. Although most of the children in your class are familiar with film and TV "performances", for some this may be the first time that they will experience live storytelling. As such, they may need to be reminded that they cannot press "pause" or "rewind" during my performance. Attentive observation and listening skills are crucial tools needed by storytelling audience members!! Your help - both before and during my performance - in maintaining a positive and respectful atmosphere will ensure a fun and enjoyable learning experience for us all.

Audience Age Range

My repertoire includes a broad range of stories that are appropriate for children of many different age ranges and developmental stages, roughly from age 3 to 17. Specific programs can be put together for a specific group of kids, based upon their age/grade and other relevant factors, in consultation with their teacher(s).

Ideal Audience Size

Anywhere from 5-30 kids and teachers, depending upon time and space constraints.

Duration

Appearances can range from 30 to 60 minutes, as desired or appropriate, depending upon grade level, class dynamic and/or curricular restraints, as determined by teacher(s). I can also spend a day at your school going from classroom to classroom, a format which allows for each class or group to enjoy a more intimate performance experience, as well as making Q&A sessions more manageable.

Fee

I offer a sliding scale, based on a number of criteria: the number of students I will be telling to, the amount of preparation and research required ahead of time, the length of time I will be performing, travel time, and school or classroom budget.

Who is Doria?

A native of Cambridge, MA, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature (French and German) and Anthropology, and a Masters in Celtic Languages and Literatures. More importantly, I love to tell stories to kids, and have been reading and telling for several years around greater Boston and Cambridge, primarily in nursery schools, elementary schools, and bookstores. I have performed and told in a wide range of schools, such as the Lincoln School, a Quaker girls’ school in Providence, RI as part of their “Art of the Spoken Word” festival, and the Gavin School, a public middle school in South Boston, where I co-taught a 9-week storytelling class for sixth and seventh graders, through the Citizen School program. (For more information on schools and other venues where I have performed, please visit my Links page.) Most of the stories that I tell are from the folk and mythic traditions of world cultures such as Nigeria, China, Scandinavia, Native North America, Ireland, Japan, France and many others.

Goals and Objectives

The reasons why I tell stories to children are manifold. Here are a few of my favorites.

If you would like me to visit your classroom or school, please feel free to contact me for more information.