Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Hughes’

Storytelling Starters ~ Proof of power

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

What makes children sit up and listen?

What makes children remember what they’re told?

What makes children respond and comment without being obliged to do so?

Well, storytelling does. The trouble is, if you’re reading this blog, you probably already know the truth of that. It’s how to spread the awareness that is the problem.

All day this last Wednesday came evidence of how children can listen and be gripped. The supply of questions and comments was fulsome and never chaotic (evidence of a good school, I’d say). But the most extraordinary thing was how, all day, children were remembering stories I’d told them before. From Reception to Year 6, there was enormous keenness not just to identify what stories they’d heard but exactly what happened in them.  They also remembered my props. And it wasn’t just one or two children that were doing this, just about all of the children were bursting to say what they remembered.  Only the Nursery children didn’t – but then, they were new to the school.

The school was St Stephen’s in Shepherd’s Bush. I’d been there three times before. In the course of this week’s visit, one girl in one session put her hand up looking troubled. ‘I can’t remember these stories,’ she said. It obviously really bothered her that she didn’t, as if she was feeling really hurt that she’d missed out on something everyone else had experienced. We thought perhaps she’d been off school when I’d come before and she seemed content with that thought. But seeing her face, I realised the power of a communal event in which everybody can share and experience enjoyment. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Light and dark

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

It’s strange how stories come to mind – sometimes after a very long gap. Yesterday morning, I was wondering what I could write about this week. Suddenly I remembered a story I haven’t thought about for ages. It feels like it fits with the extremely troubled times we’re all living through at present.  

The story:

Christmas Lights 1In this story, which I’ll say more about below,  there was a country that was riven by war. One frightened family – a young girl and her parents – had finally found refuge in a ruined tower in a rocky part of the land.

One day, an old man approached the tower. He asked the parents and their daughter if they would give him shelter for the night. They thought he seemed a kindly man. So they gave him some tea and some of the little food they had and showed him a tiny room with a bed where they said he could spend the night. That evening as they were sitting together, the stranger opened his leather satchel and brought out a glass ball. The glass ball shone in the gloom. Then, as he got up to go up to his room, he handed the glass ball to the little girl. ‘Keep hold of this,’ he said to her, ‘and it will keep you safe.’

As they went to their bed that night, disturbed by the presence of someone they didn’t know, the parents looked in on their guest. Lying asleep in the small room they’d given him, he looked different from before. He looked young. Beside him, hanging from the bedstead, they saw what they now realised was a false beard.

The parents felt very worried. Who was this man who had come to disturb them? Their sleep that night was troubled. But when they woke in the morning, they found that the man had gone. (more…)