Monday, July 14, 2014

World Traveling Storytellers come to Newport

Here come the storytellers!  This Wednesday, July 16, the Whitman Story Sampler performs at 1:00 p.m. in Literacy park for this week's edition of our Fizz!  Boom! Read! Summer Reading Program. Jen and Nat Whitman have been performing tandem (two storytellers sharing the telling of the same story), audience participation folktales as the Whitman Story Sampler for the past fifteen years.

They currently teach at the International School in Bangkok, Thailand where they use storytelling to teach creative dramatics and literacy skills. They have also taught and told stories in Hong Kong, China, Germany, Singapore and throughout the United States.  The Whitman’s draw on their travels and their backgrounds in musical theater to weave rhythm, music and motion into their performances.

I first met Jen and Nat when they came to Newport's former storytelling festival, Stories by the Sea, in 1999.  They came with Jen's mom, the inimitable folklorist/storyteller/author Margaret Read MacDonald, and quickly showed that she wasn't the only family member with storytelling skills. They continue to refine their performances and include lots of music, audience participation and humor along with marvelously told tandem tales

One of their more recent collaborations with MacDonald resulted in the book, Teaching with Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling. I think that they hit the curve on this one as storytelling becomes widely recognized as a vital component in early literacy for young children. More information about this entertaining pair is available on their website.

The Whitman's show is sponsored by Ready to Read grant funds from the Oregon State Library, Ross and Janis Neigebauer, Jeanette Hofer and Newport's Umpqua Bank.

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