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Storytelling Teaches Valuable Life Lessons

The Standard Times (New Bedford, MA), July 14, 2004


On June 10 and 11 two storytelling troupes, comprised of 16 fourth graders and 12 third graders, took part in the Second Annual Freetown Storytelling Festival. These student tellers delighted their family and friends with multicultural tales from around the world. For two evenings listeners whisked away on the wings of imagination, visiting Russia, Jamaica, Africa, Algeria, the Congo, France, Iceland and other exotic ports of call. Their stories were funny, thoughtful and whimsical; their performances were truly amazing!

The two special evenings were the culmination of an eight-month process, made possible by funding from the Freetown Local Cultural Council. In October, these adventurous students joined the Freetown Elementary Storytelling Club and began to explore the ancient art of Oral Tradition.

The entire school also encouraged and assisted the students. Mrs. Sylvain opened the library doors for story research, while Mrs. Saad invited us into the computer lab to watch national storytellers perform in streaming video. Over the last four months, teachers and their students listened and applauded as the tellers gained invaluable experience performing in front of smaller audiences on their way to the grand finale. In addition, art teacher Ms. Maccaferri coordinated a project with all of the third-grade students.

Freetown Elementary Storytelling Club Director Karen Chace said:

"In the beginning, the tellers stood in front of their first audience filled with nervous hesitation; in the end they walked out onto the auditorium stage, sure-footed, smiling, and brimming with self-assurance. My proudest moment was watching the tellers cheer each other on. Their encouragement and enthusiastic applause said it all - if one succeeds, we all succeed. They began as individuals and finished as a storytelling team!"

Subjects Covered: education

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