R is for ReadingI'm going to state the obvious: reading a story and telling a story are two different things. I love both of them. As a storyteller, I love to tell stories, as my 7-yr old grandson says, "out of my mouth".But I also love to read stories to my partner and friends. And, I love being read to. I think most people do.
In fact, to many, storytelling is reading. Asked by a headteacher to come and introduce the art of storytelling to her primary teachers, many of them said they already told stories to their children; but when I investigated further, what they meant was that they read stories to their children. They set their book up on a stand so the kids could see the pictures and the teacher reads the text.
Now don't get me wrong. I love reading and I'm a strong advocate of introducing books to children and encouraging them to read.
But for this teacher--and I suspect for many--reading was an excuse for not telling. When I suggested to this particular teacher that she could do both, she admitted that she was nervous about "performing" for the children. She confessed that she felt more comfortable relying on the book and besides, she added, it gives something for the children to look at.
"NO!" they shouted unanimously.
"Why?" the teacher asked.
One little girl raised her hand and said, "Because you look at us when you tell us a story." Another boy added, "You looked right at me when you told how Jack climbed the beanstalk and it made me feel important."
I admit I've perhaps strayed from my topic of "Reading" and used it as an excuse to promote story-telling, but tomorrow I'll use "Story-telling" to say something more about reading.
In the meantime, if you have any comments or reflections on reading and oral storytelling in your life and work, I'd love to read them. Feel free to use the comment box below. Until tomorrow, may all your once upon a times end happily ever after.
Note: Waldorf Schools are great advocates of the art of storytelling in the classroom. As a courtesy for using the above photo, I'm providing the link to the Maple Village school so you can learn more about the education they offer -- https://maplevillage.wordpress.com/about/