Story Museum launches book for teachers

OXFORD’S Story Museum has launched a book for teachers that aims to bring the magic of storytelling to the classroom.

The Storytelling School is the museum’s first book and explains why stories are vital for children’s emotional and intellectual growth.

The book, designed with help from teachers and launched on Thursday, outlines methods of teaching including how to learn a story, how to teach writing from a story and how to make up stories from scratch – with the intention of creating ‘Storytelling Schools’.

To be a ‘Storytelling School,’ a school has to teach children at least six stories a year that they can tell from memory.

The approach has been developed since 2005 by co-authors Chris Smith, from Florence Park, Oxford, and Adam Guillain, from Woodstock, to raise standards in education through storytelling.

Mr Smith, 55, head of outreach at the Story Museum, said: “Children learn to tell stories through memory, thus building their language skills. You can apply it to anything that you learn in sequence, like history.

“For me, I am a storyteller and it is a wonderful thing watching children share stories. We think that to be a confident writer, you need to be full of stories.”

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Twelve schools in Oxford, and 20 in the county, have so far signed up to become ‘Storytelling Schools’.

Story Museum co-director Kim Pickin said: “Feedback from schools is overwhelmingly positive and reinforced by dramatic improvements in SATS results and Ofsted reports.

“Teachers have welcomed the method because it is effective, fun and appeals to children of all ages and backgrounds.”

David Lewin, headteacher at Oxford’s Wood Farm Primary School, said: “The Storytelling Schools method has had a transforming effect on our approach to literacy and the teaching of writing.

“In a relatively short time the impact on writing outcomes, pupil motivation and teacher expertise has been profound.”

The 128-page guide is available from The Story Museum at £40 plus £3 postage and packing. Go to storymuseum.org.uk/shop

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