Humans communicated and recorded history through speech long before there were books or written records. Oral tradition continues to be an important part of most cultures. In America's classrooms and on the Internet, the art of storytelling is alive and well. The Web contains many resources for parents, teachers, librarians and aspiring storytellers.
The Storytelling FAQ will tell you everything you want to know about storytelling, including the history of the art, how to become a storyteller and where to find a story for your classroom or event.
Storytellers have been holding the short attention spans of children for centuries. Teachers have found that storytelling improved students' creativity and listening skills. Story Arts Online is an excellent starting point for teachers and librarians. For teachers, the site features lesson plans and activity ideas, as well as articles on the benefits of storytelling. Librarians will find the story library helpful. This collection features concise written versions of many popular tales, including 26 of Aesop's fables.
Another general storytelling site is Telling Tales. In addition to online stories and a nice collection of links, this site strongly encourages story submissions and classroom ideas. Kids will enjoy listening to a story online at Storyteller.net. Teachers can buy tapes or books, get activity ideas or search for a teller in their area.
Looking for stories? The Internet Public Library has a Story Hour section with a collection of stories for kids, including some Mother Goose favorites. The On-Line Books Page has text for more than 10,000 books online. Be sure to also visit this collection of fairy tales and stories by Hans Christian Andersen.
One of America's best-known storytellers is Minnesota native Garrison Keillor. Keillor's radio program, A Prairie Home Companion, celebrated its 25th year in 1999. Keillor has also written 11 books. Many are based on his stories about life in small-town Minnesota.
If you are interested in learning more about how to become a storyteller, visit the professional organization for storytelling, the National Storytelling Network. This site includes a national directory of storytellers, information on conferences and events, the online version of Storytelling Magazine and a nice collection of links. The home page of children's author and storyteller Aaron Shepard also has a nice compilation of helpful hints for would-be storytellers.