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“The power of the performance
was evident on the faces of all our K-8 students, even the hardest to reach. From the beginning, students were gripped; by the end even the most resistant expressions had melted into smiles of appreciation.”
B. Stanton, literacy specialist
Barnet School

“You drew in all ages,
from preschoolers sitting in moms’ laps to adolescents who couldn’t keep themselves from laughing and joining in. Two entirely different programs for K-3 and 4-8 captured both audiences with wonderfully engaging material.”
C. Clauss Media Specialist
Bridport Central School

“Nothing short of incredible.
Established an excellent rapport with each group, K-2 and 3-5, engaging the students in the performance immediately. They were spellbinders, the children were captivated for the full program. Truly transporting, they are a pair like no other, a must-see, must-hear experience.”
L. Dumouchel. Principal
Becket-Washington School (MA)

 

more school reviews, K-12

Assemblies

YOUR STUDENTS WILL LOVE THIS STORYTELLING PROGRAM
But-- that fact alone is not enough reason to bring it into your school. Many things children love do not belong in school.

WHAT'S AMAZING IS
this program provides that very desirable thing: an activity children love for its own sake, which is is also a powerful educational experience. As well as being popular performing artists, Jennings and Ponder have been active in education since the 1970s, as teaching artists and as classroom educators. Their articles on educational topics have been printed and reprinted in national education journals. As language artists, they are at the top of their field. The combination is irresistible.

CHILDREN'S MINDS ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE
in a way that screen-based activities cannot duplicate. Their imaginations are stretched, their aural and linguistic abilities enhanced, their ability to concentrate expanded, their skill at following lengthy and complex verbal narratives turbocharged, and they find themselves on the road to becoming people who love to read.

NO WONDER
storytelling and folktales are a crucial part of education in all cultures, and have been so since the day we became human.



AWARDS

Jennings and Ponder's storytelling albums are live shows recorded with audiences of mixed children and adults.

Two are American Library Association Notable Children's Recordings, another won the Parents' Choice Foundation's Silver Honor.

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"Masterful, Incredible, Highest Level, Not-To-Be-Missed”
School Library Journal


STORYTELLING AND LITERACY

Shortly after leaving teaching in 1980, Tim wrote an article for Learning Magazine. It has been widely reprinted, among other places in The Best of Storytelling Magazine. Here's the beginning, with a link to the full article.

STORYTELLING: A Non-literate Approach to Teaching Reading.
A teacher-turned-storyteller describes his program
for getting reluctant readers to read.

By Tim Jennings

I'm a professional storyteller; I tell (without a book) folktales from the vast and timeless repertoire of Euro-Asian-American "oral literature. When I go into schools to tell stories, the most frequent question teachers ask me is, "How did you ever get started doing something like this?"

The answer is simple: I did it to survive.

Some years ago, another teacher and I set up and ran an alternative educational program for 12 unusually difficult state wards, aged 10 through 16. The kids had been abandoned, or removed from their families because of neglect or abuse. They were poor. They came from treatment centers, orphanages, and the streets. Most had been in foster homes, from which they had been rejected as being unbearable. Many hadn't seen the inside of a public school for years.

Considering the mill they'd been through, it was not surprising that they were badly damaged people, and damaging to be around. Routinely and remorselessly, they lied, stole, broke things, threw tantrums, and abused one another. All were intolerable in ordinary classroom situations. A few could read, but rarely did so. Three could read very simple third grade material. The rest were nonreaders who had been in special programs as long as they'd been in school.

If kids can't read by age 12, you either give up and do something else with them, or you take a deep breath and make literate children your main goal. We didn't need to be back-to-basics fanatics to choose the latter course, and it turned out that the kids themselves wanted a "real school," with reading, writing, and math.

A Futile Beginning

Base one in learning to read, I thought, was listening to stories read aloud. I'm pretty good at reading aloud, and looked forward to some enjoyable sessions. I expected difficulty on all other fronts, but here I thought we could relax and learn what reading was all about.

I was quickly disabused.

All the kids felt that being read to was demeaning-- baby stuff. The nonreaders actually seemed provoked to feelings of physical discomfort by the steady stream of words. They squirmed; they whispered and punched; they got loudly indignant with others for squirming and whispering and punching. I'd have to stop and intervene, the thread would get lost, and the exercise-- which was all it ever was-- would end miserably. I tried everything to make it work, including a hard-nosed "If you come to listen to a book, then you sit there, and you listen to the end." All I got from that was a broken window

Read the rest (PDF)


WORKSHOPS & RESIDENCIES

From a single class meeting to a two week school-wide residency, Tim Jennings ignites a kind of storytelling fever, helping your students learn to express themselves with power and purpose.

Workshop flyer (PDF).


COMMON CORE STANDARDS

The following paragraphs are excerpted from a 45 page PDF document
STORYTELLING AND THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS

By the authors of "Common Core State Standards"
Published by The National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices

Speaking and Listening

Storytelling models communication skills and the narrative process, and encourages listeners to participate, to question, to tell, and to seek stories similar to those presented by the storyteller.

The standards require that students gain, evaluate, and present increasingly complex information, ideas, and evidence through listening and speaking as well as through media.

Language

Storytelling is communication, an interactive art that utilizes the tools of gesture, facial expression, and voice to define and enrich the language and meaning of stories. Storytelling also encourages comprehension, addition, and use of diverse words in a growing vocabulary.

The standards expect that students will grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading. The standards will help students determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their repertoire of words and phrases.

The standards help prepare students for real life experience at college and in 21st century careers. The standards recognize that students must be able to use formal English in their writing and speaking but that they must also be able to make informed, skillful choices among the many ways to express themselves through language.

Vocabulary and conventions are treated in their own strand not because skills in these areas should be handled in isolation but because their use extends across reading, writing, speaking, and listening.


 
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