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Book Review: Storytelling for Kids

June 17, 2012

An important area of every kid’s education is writing.  We all want our kids to be able to express themselves in writing – if nothing else than for those college applications one day.  As it turns out, those same skills honed we express ourselves in writing also are at work when we express ourselves in oral speech.  Or even in film making or a variety of other creative media.

As a writer myself, and a homeschooling parent, I have read a lot about how to teach writing to kids.  Some argue that kids only need to learn expository writing because that’s what is necessary in life.  Creative writing is optional.  And I mostly agree with that.  But….isn’t creative writing so much more FUN?!  Not that we cannot get intensely engaged in our report about the foraging habits of the green sea turtle.  We can really enjoy researching and writing about something that interests us.

But in no other way can we truly let our hair down than when we get to make up a story.  The experience is so totally unfettered.  Well, not totally, so it turns out.  There are tools that good writers use to make good stories.  And the most fun way you will find of sharing those tools with your lower and middle grade students is the story telling magic of Gooney Bird Greene.  This short novel by Lois Lowry features an exotic new girl in school who comes with a host of outrageous – and totally true – stories.  (Stories like “How Gooney Bird Came from China on a Flying Carpet.”)  As she shares her stories with her class, the class learns about the tools that good story-tellers use in telling their stories.  Your kids will hardly know they are learning anything.  And they will all want to tell stories as engaging as Gooney Bird’s.

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