We were approached by the Literacy Coordinator of a secondary school as they were having real difficulty getting their year 7s and 8s to write complex sentences, paragraphs and stories. They felt that a workshop with a storyteller, at the start of the school year, might inspire their young writers, and help the new ones get a feel for the library and resource centre.
Through discussions, we decided the best approach would be our storytelling workshop ‘What Is A Book?’ Here we started with a discussion of all the different people required in making a book, and what their roles entailed. This was followed by an exploration of the differences between written and spoken English, by hearing a story both read and then told as storytelling performance. The sessions were ended with an unfinished story, which each child had to end in their own way.
Over the course of 1-hour sessions, groups of 30 children were inspired to write their own endings to a story. They were encouraged to use a great breadth of descriptive language and to consider including all 5 senses within their work. It was a delight to see both girls and boys knuckling down to the task, and the results were spectacular. A selection of them were so proud of their endings, they volunteered to read them to their classmates.