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Spellbinders: Nearly 20 Years of Stories

Aspen Times (Aspen, CO) , July 25, 2005

Summary:

Parents and teachers aren’t the only people entertaining the valley’s elementary school students with stories.

Kids between the ages of 6 and 11 probably have already heard of Spellbinders, a Woody Creek-based nonprofit with a mission of telling stories to children.

Spellbinders’ emphasis is primarily on literacy, said Germaine Dietsch, who founded the organization nearly 17 years ago.

“We place a huge value on visual imagery being concentrated in their minds; [it’s] a wonderful adjunct to writing and reading when they can hear a story,” she said.

Storytelling may be primitive, but it is filled with educational aspects for youngsters.

“Here they create the pictures in their own mind, allowing them to be incredibly involved in the story, as opposed to movies and TV,” Dietsch said.

Since opening, Spellbinders has seen growth in both its audiences and certified volunteer orators, or storytellers. Within the past year, 16 new volunteers have passed training, creating a total of 143 residents who have taken Spellbinders workshops. There are currently 25 trained storytelling professionals in the valley.

In classrooms, students meet with storytellers once or twice a month. It’s a large load for the orators because they visit 174 classrooms in only 20 days. But Spellbinders is expanding beyond the school week and is now hosting summer workshops.

Subjects Covered: education


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