Teaching Diversity Through Oral Storytelling

by Debbie Gonzales on September 29, 2013

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Teaching with Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling (August House, 2013) is a celebration of a family who has joined together to share their delight in oral storytelling and all of the diversity that comes with it. Author Margaret Read MacDonald has devoted her career to sharing the joys of storytelling with parents, educators, and librarians. Inspired by her mother’s devotion to storytelling, daughter Jennifer MacDonald Whitman became a teacher and began telling stories in her classroom right away. And then, when Margaret was a Fulbright Scholar in Northeast Thailand, Jen brought then fiancé Nathaniel Forrest Whitman for a visit ; he was smitten by the art of storytelling. Today, Margaret teaches storytelling techniques all around the globe, Jen uses storytelling to connect with Kindergarten curriculum, and Nat shares stories daily as an elementary school librarian.

The book is organized by The Seven C’s of Storytelling: Community, Character, Communications, Curriculum, Cultural Connections, Creativity and Confidence. Each chapter classification includes two stories and multiple suggestions for lesson extensions. The stories featured hail from places all over the world – Siberia, Australia, Burma, Cuba, Brazil and beyond! And, the authors demonstrate how storytelling helps to meet the benchmarks and academic standards by offering a resource section covering the concerns of meeting the rigors of today’s academic expectations.

“There are a thousand reasons to tell stories in the classroom, but really, the most important reason for bringing storytelling into your classroom is joy. Once you begin a tradition of storytelling with your students you will find that you delight in the telling as much as your students delight in listening (12).”

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