Programs and Workshops


While all ages enjoy a variety of stories, and most stories can be adapted for most ages, some just seem to “click” better with different groups. Here are sample programs for suggested ages. Programs can be customized to fit ongoing programs or special themes.

The cost for performances is based on the length of the program and the distance travelled (from St. Charles, Missouri). Contact me for a quote.

Tellable Tales

Inviting listeners to become tellers, this program introduces types of stories, with permission to tell and “make them your own.”

  1. •Traditional Folktales and Stretches
    1. ◦The Smell of the Bread
    2. ◦Noisy House
    3. ◦Magic Doubling Pot
    4. ◦The Stonecutter
  2. •Traditional Tales with a Twist (adding one’s own details)
    1. ◦The Three Little Pigs – my version with Legos!
  3. •Personal Stories from One’s Own Life
    1. ◦Bill’s Iguana
    2. ◦Chimp Show at the Zoo
    3. ◦C.J.’s Lost Puppy
  4. •Tall Tales
    1. ◦Carnival Elation (shrimp stampede)
  5. Clever Critters and Story Stretches

The youngest listeners love stories of animals, and tellers from Aesop to Uncle Remus have known that animal characters make lessons fun.

  1. •Butterfly Brothers
  2. •Coyote Dances w/Stars
  3. •Turtle Flies South
  4. •Ears and Tails and Common Sense
  5. •Grandmother Spider

Life Lessons

Stories can teach lessons on caring for each other, doing right, living well — without preaching.

  1. •The Stonecutter on the Mountain
  2. •The Innkeeper’s Wise Daughter
  3. •Lost Purse
  4. •Pandora’s Troubles
  5. •More Than a Match
  6. •’Possum and Snake
  7. •Tante Tina

Silly Scary (not terrifying – tales with safe endings and laughter)

  1. •Black Bubble Gum
  2. •Red, Red Lips
  3. •Fire Ants and Snake Spit
  4. •Tailey-Po
  5. •Hitchhiker

True “Ghost” Stories

  1. •City Outhouse
  2. •Delta Queen — Mary Becker Greene
  3. •Trains
    1. ◦Ghost Woman in Cab
    2. ◦Children push car
  4. •Victoria on the Goldenrod

Workshops on Storytelling

Stealth Storytelling at the Upper Grades (Frog Goes to High School)

presented at these conferences:

  1. Sharing the Fire in Massachusetts
  2. National Storytelling Network, Oklahoma
  3. Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, Winter Conference, Utah
  4. Northlands Storytelling Network, Wisconsin
  5. Texas Storytelling Festival, Denton, Texas
  6. •O.O.P.S.  Ohio Order for the Preservation of Storytelling

    For further information on workshops contact Mary.

    How to tell stories and introduce others to storytelling presented for these groups:

    1. •Missouri Association of School Librarians
    2. •Rivers Bend Association of Educators of Young Children

    Stories Make the World Go Around

    Mary Garrett

    Frog Goes to High School Handouts click for more storytelling material, or

    e-mail me.

    From Howard Schwartz —  Keep finding cracks to leave stories in. They tend to take root.

    Use storytelling to enrich the curriculum, illustrate difficult concepts, encourage students, and improve learning.  History comes to life, math and science concepts become clear with story, and it’s more fun!

    1. 1)Identify where stories can enrich the curriculum.  Stories can simplify complex material, especially for auditory learners and develop communication skills.

    2)  Develop a list of stories and keep track of what you tell to whom.   A list of favorites helps keep track and provides inspiration when, with a few minutes left in class, someone asks, “Would you tell us a story?”  I also make notes in my texts where a story would fit.   A large poster board sheet can hold your lists of favorites.

    3)  Share ideas with other tellers and teachers.  Before MAP tests I asked friends on the Storytell e-mail list for  short, positive stories with which to encourage my students.  Thanks to their gifts of story, the students faced those tests in a happier, more confident mood.

    4) Encourage students to tell with story boarding and partner telling.

    5)  State standards — “Comprehension of material presented orally” is on most state standards, along with  “ability to present material orally.”  Many stories fit specific aspects of the curriculum.  Storytell Discussion —

    Sources for Stories and Information

    The Storytelling Classroom by Norfolk, Stenson & Williams  1-800-225-5800

    The library, of course!!!!     398.2

    Testing Miss Malarky by Judy Finchler

    Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!  by Dr. Seuss with some help from Jack Prelutsky & Lane Smith

    August House    1-800-284-8784

    Donald Davis — Telling Your Own Stories, Writing as a Second Language

    Heather Forest — Wisdom Tales from Around the World , Wonder Tales from Around the World

    David Holt and Bill Mooney. The Storytellers Guide: Storytellers Share Advice  and

    Ready-To-Tell Tales: Sure-Fire Stories from Americas Favorite Storytellers

    Doug Lipman and Jay OCallahan. The Storytelling Coach: How to Listen, Praise, and Bring Out People’s Best. .

    Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss. How and Why Stories: World Tales Kids Can Read and Tell.

    Margaret Read MacDonald The Storytellers Start-Up Book. Shake-It-Up Tales

    Naomi Baltuck Crazy Gibberish

    Web Links

    Karen Chace Teacher’s Porch, Storytelling Links

    Story-lovers  — scroll down to SOS and Bare Bones

    Richard Martin

    Tim Sheppard

    NCTE  on Storytelling

    Judith Black (historical tellings)

    Stories can fit various subject areas (and your favorite stories can fit many areas)


    “The King’s Chessboard”

    Hoja and the Donkeys


    “Little Red House”  make prints with cut apples

    “Ma Lein and the Magic Paint Brush”

    World Cultures



    “Hell for a Picnic” (Judith Black)

    Family And Consumer Science

    “Butterfly Brothers” for child development

    “Innkeeper’s Wise Daughter”  (“A Reason to Beat Your Wife” – wicked but fun)

    Character Education (likely area for school assemblies right now)

    “The Lost Purse”

    “Hercules”  Odds Bodkins’ version is part of program to deal with violence

    Telling Stories

    Storytelling is the oldest of the communication arts.  Stories can add understanding, interest and enjoyment for students of all ages and in all areas of the curriculum.  This workshop will help you find and develop stories to share with students, to enhance their learning and enjoyment, and perhaps to encourage them to become “tellers” as well.

    1.  Choose a story you really love!  It should have values you wish to live with, characters you find interesting, a story that resonates with you.  Of the hundreds of stories you find, there will be some you love — tell those.

    2.  Don’t memorize; know the story and tell it.  Read it several times.  Re-write if you wish, or draw a story-board of the action.  Visualize setting and characters.  Consider the motivations for actions and choices.  Ask yourself what is important to you in this story.   You won’t use every detail, but it will make the story real to you, and therefore real to your listeners.

    3.  Tell, tell, tell!!!  Tell to yourself, tell to friends, tell until the story is part of you.   It is in these tellings that you will find your individual approach, the details that make the story yours.

    If you forget to mention an important detail, just tell it when you need it.  Say, “Now you should know . . . .”   Jackie Torrence would smile that mischievous smile when she had forgotten to tell something important and say, “Now I wonder if you remember . . .” Laughing together is fun!

    4.  Bring them home safely.  Scary stories have to be age-appropriate, and the ending has to restore a safety zone.  Jackie ends jump tales with “and no one ever saw that . . . . again.”

    5.  Keep track of your stories — notebooks, computer lists, files to help you remember the stories when you need them.

    6.  Audience etiquette — sometimes it is necessary to teach the basics of audience behavior, attentiveness, courtesy.  It helps if the teachers are involved audience members, modeling for the students.  Actually, behavior problems are rare during storytelling, since students are caught up in the story.  It does help if younger listeners have more participation opportunities.

    7.  Copyright issues — telling within your own library or classrooms is generally allowed, as is telling from the folk tradition.  Using copyrighted material in festivals or other public performances or on tapes can be a problem.

    Wide-Mouth Frog — One of my favorite stories (just the “bones”)

    Little Wide-Mouth Frog asks his momma, “What do mother animals feed their babies?”  She sends him out to find out,take a survey, with a little clipboard and pencil.  He asks rabbit, squirrel, bear  . .  expected answers.  (I always add that squirrels like to bite the green tomatoes, and bears, if there aren’t enough berries, take the campers’ food) — then he goes into the swamp.  Momma Gator says, “I feed my babies wide mouth frogs.”  Little frog purses lips tight and says, “If I see any, I’ll let you know.”

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: But I wasn’t telling stories then . . . | storytellermary

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