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Performance Literacy Through Storytelling

Author: Brett Dillingham , Nile Stanley

Availability: In stock


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ISBN 13: 978-1-934338-41-4
Maupin House Number: 211


Performance Literacy through Storytelling is a gold recipient of the Independent Book Publisher Awards
and is also a finalist for the
2010 AEP Distinguished Achievement Award in the K-5 Curriculum and Instruction category!

For K-8!

Learning how to write and tell a story to an audience directly supports several speaking/listening, reading, and writing Common Core Standards. Teaching to the standards is effortless, motivating, and engaging when storytelling is part of the K-8 teaching week.

Mini-lessons at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels help teachers weave storytelling into the fabric of today’s standards-based classroom and construct their own skillful literacy lessons. Reluctant and striving readers and writers, English language learners, and even more advanced storytellers will love the confidence they gain as they move from developing to delivering a variety of stories for a variety of audiences. Teachers will love the many benefits of “performance literacy,” or teaching children how to write and perform stories:

  • Develop literacy skills—language, vocabulary, comprehension, writing process, speaking, and listening—along with performance skills and self-expression;
  • Easily integrate learning across the content areas;
  • Deepen the connection between home, school, and community;
  • Promote students’ creativity and activate their prior knowledge;
  • Encourage respect and self-improvement as students learn to critique each other’s stories and performances in a non-threatening manner.

Performance Literacy through Storytelling comes complete with a story index, curriculum tie-ins, digital storytelling tips, and information for using the companion website with supplemental multimedia. An audio CD includes 70 minutes of stories and songs from the authors themselves, in addition to other well-known storytellers, performers, and educators: Karen Alexander, John Archambault, Heather Forest, Brenda Hollingsworth-Marley, David Plummer, and Allan Wolf.

Don’t just teach literacy—perform it!

Read this interview with Brett Dillingham and Nile Stanley from Education News.

Read this article from UNF Journal on Nile Stanley's work with poetry clubs.

Free Downloads

Table of Contents
Sample mini-lesson
"Spudbuster" audio track

*Click here for a list of Common Core State Standards Performance Literacy through Storytelling addresses!


"An excellent resoure for [a library's] professional section. This book has information on everything you would ever need to know about storytelling. It contains examples of stories, rubrics, and lists of other sources. Also comes with a CD that plays the stories in the book. Highly Recommended. Grade: A."
-Arlington Independent School District, 2010

“This book provides teachers with the knowledge, teaching methodologies, and resources to develop their students’ oral language, writing, and reading skills in an extremely powerful and integrated manner. A must-read, must-keep on your bookshelf!”
-Dr. Maryann Manning, board member, U.S. National Committee of the World Organization for Early Childhood Education and International Reading Association

“This book puts the 'art' back in language arts! Teachers can lift language off the page, fully engaging students while meeting and beating the standards! A five-star effort the novice or veteran teacher will find beneficial, exclaiming as I did, 'Wow, this book is awesome and long overdue!'
-John Archambault, award-winning children’s author (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Barn Dance!, Boom Chicka Rock), educational consultant, and former first-grade teacher

"Performance Literacy through Storytelling, by Nile Stanley and Brett Dillingham, offers the foundation of the teaching of tale telling in a sequential, logical, and classroom-usable format. Storytelling across the curriculum promotes a skill set that can be developed within any grade level. Skills such as reading with strategic purpose, the organization of thought, writing in sequence and with creativity, the heightening of listening ability and stamina, and oral presentation enhancement are honed through the teaching of performance storytelling. For those who teach the art of language and the love of literature, Performance Literacy outlines key ways to promote communicative strengths among students by actually having them experience a story, reflect upon a story, and then apply what they have learned to the creation and performance of a story. Stanley and Dillingham provide detailed mini-lessons and a plethora of resources that should be considered a gift for all teachers, first-year to veteran. The accompanying audio CD completes the package so that teachers and students can listen to model performances of stories and songs by known storytellers. This book is a year-round, cross-curriculum jewel that breathes new life into the phrase: 'Tell me a story!' "
-Meryl Ironson, 5th-grade language arts teacher, Chester, NJ

"Stanley (education, U. of North Florida) and Dillingham, a storyteller, educator, and children's book author who performs around the world, suggest ways to make storytelling a part of the daily K-8 curriculum to help improve all components of literacy and motivate and engage reluctant readers and writers. They focus on teaching children how to write and perform stories, and they provide field- tested stories and strategies for developing literacy, as well as skills, assessment, and performance tips. Mini-lessons for all reading levels are given in the second section. The CD contains 18 stories and songs. There is no index."
-©2009 Book News Inc., Portland, OR

"Literacy is more than just reading. 'Performance Literacy Through Storytelling' is a guide to embracing storytelling and performing when trying to teach younger students the importance and joy of reading literature. The performance arts can also do much for students outside of literacy, such as learning to express oneself, or engage in cooperation and creative thinking. A complete and comprehensive guide for teachers and educators about using performance arts as a part of the literary learning experience, 'Performance Literacy Through Storytelling' is a recommended educational manual."
-Midwest Book Review, June 2009

"Performance Literacy through Storytelling is such a fun book. Yes, I did say fun. This book written up by Nile Stanley and Brett Dillingham showed me how to use storytelling within our school day. To tell the truth, even I had fun interacting with the kids. The book comes along with a CD which has 18 stories and musical tracks on it. My kids love listening to the stories after we learn about them; too bad we are actually learning a lot more than just about the story. The book is also broken down into mini-lessons, which are easy to follow. My kids most enjoyed the role-playing that is done within some of the lessons."
- Ang, Just an Army Wife and Just a Mommy blog, http://justanarmywifejustamommy.blogspot.com (October 2009)

Performance Literacy through Storytelling

Just as some may say, “Grey is the new black,” it seems storytelling is the new “author’s chair” for language-arts classes.

An extraordinary strategy that includes every child in your classroom, storytelling is an intuitive form of human expression and experience that belongs in the language-instruction continuum. This book is a practical manual for language-arts teachers who are looking for fun curriculum-driven activities to spice up the day. It guides teachers through the stages and structure of oral stories and their evaluation and provides 15 model lessons developed for K–8 classrooms.

The how-to of storytelling is laid out for teachers along with concrete, beginning-to-end drafts, checklists, rubrics and resources for each grade. A CD with diverse model storytellers presenting interdisciplinary stories is included, as is a series of beginner-to-advanced storytelling lessons not only for language arts but for history, math, science, music and digital storytelling as well. I love this approach to cross-curricular learning through the arts. After all, what is the life cycle or the Battle of 1812 if not our story as humans and Canadians?

-Kara Smith, OCT, is an English education researcher with the University of Windsor’s faculty of education and a language consultant with several boards of education in southwestern Ontario. Published in Professionally Speaking, March 2010.

This product was added to our catalog on 3/20/09.


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