I’ve known Renita for a while now. Originally from America, Renita now lives in Wigtown, which the book town in Scotland, with the most stunning views across the estuary. When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” [...]
When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” with songs about stinky things and choruses that end in “Eeeeuew!”
Renita has begun putting stories on YouTube for all to share. Here is one that has so many Ps in it I’m surprised we can still see through the lens of the camera by the end of the story.
Checkout her YouTube channel here and make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss any new stories!
Follow me as I make an iPad iBook over the next few weeks on my YouTube channel. I’m going to document all the various stages involved including research, reference, sketching, planning, illustrating, design on iBooks Author and integral video production.
“How will story telling promote a child’s writing ability?” was a search string someone used to get to my website recently. I hope that person was looking for something to back up what they already know, for I find it inconceivable that anyone would seriously need to ask this question.
Stories are the raison d’etre of human existence. Without stories and storytelling humans go mad, cleverly spun stories can drive humans mad too! The pen maybe mightier than the sword but the pen is useless if there are no stories to be told.
What is there to write if there are no stories? How can a child have any writing ability without stories filling their head? Writing is not a a mechanical process – even accountants like to be a little bit creative at times.
If you want to improve writing, you have to read. You cannot learn to write without seeing how others do it. The main problem with lowering literacy levels at the moment, is that children are exposed to far too many extracts and not enough sustained stories with beginnings, middles and ends. Children need to read long texts and books. This way they get comfortable with the author’s “Voice” and assimilate grammar, composition and the author’s style by osmosis.
And how do you get children interested in reading books? By telling stories and reading books out loud. Children are desperate for stories. It’s how they truly learn. It is how adults learn too. Why else do politicians, religions and advertisers rely on storytelling to promote their wares? Because they know storytelling is the most powerful tool humans have access to.
You could keep a class happy all day long by just telling stories and letting them play for a bit every hour – putting the stories to work in imaginative play. They will learn more in that day than in a week of structured schooling.
So where is storytelling in schools these days? All I remember of my school lessons was when we managed to get teachers off the subject to talk about their passions – spiders or steam trains. I learned a lot in those lessons. And those wonderful story lessons where the teachers would spend the whole period reading a book. Greek myths, Just So Stories, Narnia, Swallows and Amazons – tales of adventure and human interaction, slowly learning how the world really works in the minds of others and the interaction between humans.
Find any primitive culture and what do you find? Food, Sex and Storytelling. What is our advanced culture built on now? Food, sex and telly – and what is telly, but storytelling round the fire.
Don’t waste your time asking stupid questions like, “How will story telling promote a child’s writing ability?” The proof of the pudding is in the doing, not the asking. Pick up a book and start telling stories NOW! you’ll be amazed at what happens.
I examined it briefly – not really very interesting – part of me wanted to throw it away, but something made me hold onto it and I put it in my back pocket and carried on walking. Less than a minute later a story formed in my head based on that tiny little shoe
When I got home I started working out the story as a mind map. You can see it and the toy shoe in the picture. Of course I’m not going to show you the whole plan for the story because – well, that would be telling!
It is amazing how tiny little things can grow so quickly into something so amazing as a fully formed idea ready to draw pictures and write words – ready to bring the whole thing to life.
Hooray! I’ve just finished the artwork for Axel Storm – Diamond Moon. This should be out next month! I hope we are still on schedule. The first two books should be coming out any day.
I wrote last Friday how I’d woken up early with the idea to make a story work after years of telling then writing then rewriting. Well I tried it out today at Dartmouth and Kingsbridge Libraries, and it works brilliantly. Just one or two little changes and I can get on with a dummy. I’m thrilled. I’ve been trying to get this right for so long and all it need was to find out the name of the heroine… simples!
I’ve been telling a story about this little girl in schools and libraries for about ten years now. The story has changed and evolved in that time. I thought I had it cracked when I rewrote it around a pop-up gimmick I invented. But the banks crashed, the recession hit and it proved too expensive. I’ve been thinking about how to rewrite it ever since. I had one major rewrite, but it didn’t work at all.
It’s amazing the way the subconscious works. Last night I had an email from the editor I was working with at the time, Natscha Biebow, with a lovely picture of her son on his first birthday. She was writing to say she wouldn’t be returning to work.
I suppose, subconsciously, I’d been awaiting her return to get on with the story. Her email must have loosened something in the brain, because I woke at 5.30 with the answer. It was so simple I can’t think why it’s taken me ten years or more to think of it!
Am I going to tell you the secret? Of course not! Unless you are a picture book editor and would like to have a little look!