Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘World Book Day’

Storytelling Starters ~ Dates to Remember

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Two significant dates are in view. March 1st is St David’s Day. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s an important day for people in Wales and for Welsh people outside it. It’s the time to pay special attention to the gentle Patron Saint who as he was dying urged those around him ‘to do the little things’. Gwnewch y pethau bychain. I think what St David said is important, namely attending to the detail of people’s needs in the world around you. Which I hope includes valuing the part stories can play.

A great story for St David’s Day is the one I call The Door in the Mountain. To find it, please look back in my Blog Archives to my posting for February 2012. When you read the story, you’ll see it’s not only got daffodils in it – and of course daffodils (or leeks) are the St David’s Day emblem. In the story, a single daffodil becomes an apt symbol of wonder, living on in the mind long after the real daffodils the little girl finds have gone brown and withered and died.

World Book Day 2013

A week later on March 7th comes World Book Day 2013. This day gives a chance to celebrate what books do for all of us who have access to them. Fact or fiction, they can take us into worlds we might never otherwise reach, transcending time and place and our own physical selves to enable us to see things from other points of view. I hope it also prompts us to remember organisations like Book Aid – for there are still too many people in this world who do not have access to any books (or Kindles or the Internet).

One of my best stories for telling makes a bridge between St David’s Day and World Book Day. The kernel of it was told to me at a Local Legends workshop I led in St David’s. The rest developed around that kernel as I told it and retold it. I recently wrote it – not the story itself so much as my experience of telling it. I hope you enjoy what I wrote. (more…)

Storytelling Starters – Is it yet Spring?

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

The other day I heard that David the cuckoo is on his way home. David is one of several cuckoos the British Trust for Ornithology are tracking in the cause of helping with dangerously declining cuckoo numbers. David has been wintering in the middle of Africa. He’s started his long flight back from the Congo about a week earlier than the first of last year’s cuckoos. To the BTO, it’s the first sign of Spring. 

Signs of Spring?

I await any signs of Spring in Storytelling in Education. Like numerous other storytellers I’ve spoken to, I fear the country is stuck in a very long drear Winter as far as storytelling in schools is concerned. Storyteller visits to schools have suffered. So has storytelling training for teachers. OK, there are still the big events. National Storytelling Week has just been taking place and lots of exciting events have happened inside and outside of schools. Next there’ll be World Book Day which this year is on March 7th. On that day I’ll be working in Kensington Palace with a group of parents who want to learn to tell stories to children.

But as previous readers of this blog will know, my concern is that storytelling be not only for special occasions but embedded in children’s lives. In Primary schools and Nursery schools, it is of particular importance because it gives children such improved confidence with language and also the knowledge that they all have an imagination, which is such an essential skill for life as well as for education.

Back-up for these thoughts came last week in a letter from Jean Edmiston, one of Scotland’s leading storytellers and a long-term colleague and friend of mine.  Jean has worked widely and over a long period of years in schools, with community groups and in performance. Her letter gives her thoughts on why storytelling in education is of such value. It includes insightful references to adults and children she’s worked with.

Jean Edmiston writes:

Dear Mary

At the end of last year I visited the local village primary school to tell stories.

As there are only 26 children in the whole school, ages 5-11, I suggested they should all join in with the first story, with the older children lending their voices to the sound effects necessary to rid the villagers in the story of a scary mud monster. The story ends with the people celebrating their victory by making fires that sparkle like all the stars in the sky.

The younger children then chose to stay on for the longer stories – and 45 minutes became over an hour with everyone enjoying the stories. And I so enjoyed telling the stories and being reminded how much delight children take from hearing stories told.

A few days after this I met a parent in the village shop – and the talk was not the usual talk about the weather but about the stars and stories of how they came to be. (more…)