"Bringing Motivation and Imagination to Learning and Literacy"

The sense of community that forms when hearing a story also applies to the classroom. A bubble forms around a class of listeners. Without even knowing it, kids are learning vocabulary, grammar, story structure, sentence structure, deductive reasoning, the rhythm of language and, of course, the development of the imagination....amongst other skills! (See list below). This knowledge and motivation can then carry over to other forms of literacy such as reading and writing in an organic and non-threatening way. Why try to force kids to learn when you can MOTIVATE them?!

I believe that you can't force people to learn. As educators, then, our ultimate goal needs to be to make learning interesting and enjoyable enough so that students WANT to learn. Storytelling is a motivational gateway into learning. For starters, it's fun! Because of this motivational factor and the literacy skills that it automatically builds, storytelling and story creating gives kids a positive experience with language and learning. It also helps to create a classroom culture while developing both academic and life skills including critical skills (problem solving, decision making, organization, communication, critical thinking, leadership and collaboration -- list developed but Peter Eppig, Professor at Antioch University, Keene, NH).

Learn the art of storytelling and the why it's such a successful tool for motivating kids and promoting language and learning! All activities are appropriate for classroom use. Handouts provided.


“So many great ideas on how to instill creativity and create and/or tell a story. Very useful in so many ways! Several ideas are already in the works as to how to tell a story without the use of a book (at my school).”

2008 Storytelling Institute Participant

"When I saw Rona teach I was convinced we had the best person in her area of expertise than anyone else in our ten year history. She is a sensitive teacher who inspires......."

Lee Pogonowski, Director, Creative Arts Laboratory, Columbia University, Teachers College, NYC

"Over the past two months I found that the use of storytelling has not only given my class a 'self-esteem facelift' and enabled my kids to be better writers, but has given me a new teaching tool. I laughed and learned! Thank you for your ability to keep the mood light, be non-judgmental and supportive."

Student, Lesley University

"I've come away from this class a better teacher and observer because of it. It's allowed me to challenge myself and step into a new way of thinking about teaching. It's put drive in me and has helped me to love teaching again. It's added spontaneity and vitality to my students' lives, as well as my own."

Student Lesley University

"There were a lot of connections drawn between performance and literacy. I was captivated by the extreme potential in this organic kind of literacy."

Student, Columbia University, NYC

"Rona was great! This was an amazing class! This should be a requirement for all ed majors."

Student, Columbia University, NYC

"I will be able to integrate specific "games" in my work with literacy and teaching methodologies, as well as activities to use with kids to teach about cooperation and group dynamics!"

Teacher, Knoxville, TN

“I really had fun (on the bike trip with teens) using story to teach, inspire and entertain. Now I am teaching a middle school storytelling elective and I hear the students retelling stories, or using language from the stories I told in order to express themselves. Where they would never say to a peer, “You hurt my feelings”, they now say “You really wrinkled my paper” (which was from a story I told), and they are able to express themselves."

Donna Leard, Storyteller, Educator, 2008 Storytelling Institute Participant


When students are involved with storytelling -- as listeners, creators of stories or learning how to tell a story -- they are (unwittingly!) learning many skills while at the same time taking ownership of their stories.

The Benefits Include:

  • Listening skills
  • Oral and descriptive language
  • Poise & public speaking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Auditory memory
  • Imaginative thinking
  • Sequencing
  • Increased cooperation
  • Analytical skills
  • Reading/creative writing motivation
  • Story structure
  • Grammar
  • Sentence structure
  • Rhythm of language
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Body awareness
  • Greater retention & understanding of information
  • Builds cultural Understanding
  • Enhancing Empathy
  • Building critical skills
  • Freeing students from the mechanics of the written word, allowing greater creativity and success with language and learning


  • The family connection -- great way to get parents and siblings involved!
  • Reaches both kinesthetic & oral learners!
  • Creates a body-mind connection!
  • Emphasis is on sharing, not performing!
  • Develops community in the school (often, stories are shared with individual classes!)
  • Shows kids that they are capable of expressing a whole range of emotions with their body, face, and voice!

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