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Teaching With Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling

Teaching with Story Cover

“We drew on our varied experiences to create this guide. We hope you will enjoy the tales in this book and that the strategies included will help you discover the same delight we have found using storytelling in the classroom!”

It’s relatively easy to bring storytelling into the classroom, but once you’ve introduced the story, what happens next? The world renowned storytelling family of Margaret Read MacDonald, her daughter, Jennifer MacDonald Whitman (a classroom teacher) and Jen’s husband, Nathaniel Forrest Whitman (a school librarian), has answered this question with their valuable resource book, Teaching with Story. The trio has applied their years of experience to share practical guidelines for using stories to meet a broad range of educational objectives while making learning more engaging and more meaningful for children.

Break it down: Sailing the “Seven C’s” Teaching with Story is organized around seven key concepts that begin with C: Community, Character, Communication, Curriculum, Culture, Creativity, and Confidence. Each chapter highlights specific ways to use story to enrich the learning experiences for students. For example, the chapter on Character shows how to influence a classroom’s culture by using stories to “convey important messages about how to behave in society,” and Communication discusses how to shape “literate citizens who are capable of listening, reading, and viewing critically.” You’ll even explore how the essential character traits of folktales can be connected to almost any genre in children’s literature.

“Grandfather Bear Is Hungry” Although the book includes folktales and stories from across the globe, there is one story that remains central to the teaching strategy in each chapter. “Grandfather Bear Is Hungry” is a simple tale that reveals how Chipmunk received his mark of honor. The authors return to this story in each chapter to demonstrate how even the shortest of tales can carry a deeper meaning in myriad ways. In addition to “Grandfather Bear,” the authors include folktales from Sierra Leone, Australia, Siberia, Palestine, Thailand, Cuba, and so many more to help illustrate their tips for using story.

Resources and the Common Core Standards At the back of the book, the authors included a useful list of resources complete with research on classroom engagement, as well as how to use story to effectively meet specific Common Core Standards. Whether you are a teacher, librarian, or parent interested in improving your child’s education, you won’t want to miss the practical information within these pages - not to mention, all the fun of telling stories and teaching children how to share their stories as well!


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