I sat at the table waved a book in front of the young man and said, “I found a story I thought you would like.” His eyes met mine for a brief second and he went back to folding the paper football. I suggested it might be one he could go home and share with his little brother. The eyes were back on me and the expression was inquisitive. I talked a bit about the story, how the voices could be added, how body movement could demonstrate some of the action. I went through just the bones of the story. He tried on a couple voices one of coyote and one of the old tough rabbit. He had the idea.
The hands continued folding paper but I could see the mind was in the woods right near a rabbit hole. When I was leaving school I saw the young man and his little brother out playing. “Don’t forget to tell him the story tonight”, I called out as I drove off. The next day he ran over to report he had told his brother the coyote story and how much the little fellow liked it. The report was given as he stood tall and proud and a huge grin on his face. I think we hit upon the magic moment when a storyteller is born.
Many storytellers do work in classrooms. It is the work of preparing the torch for passing on. I found this video and love how it demonstrates classroom storytelling as a tool in education, but mostly I love seeing the smiles on their faces! Tomorrow at work, I think I’ll tell that boy a new story for his brother.