Spinning a good yarn

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By Phil McDermottThe Story Spinner

Use the award-winning The Story Spinner DVD series to discover how oral storytelling can be an invaluable teaching tool

The Story Spinners

The prime importance of any oral story is enjoyment. It is a unique collaboration between audience and storyteller that conjures up a world of rich images – where listener and performer are free to create their own vivid imagery as the story is told. The magic of oral stories is that you can also use them as a valuable teaching tool to explore many aspects of the National Curriculum, including literacy, drama, citizenship and SEAL.

Storyteller and creator of the award-winning The Story Spinner collection, Phil McDermott, knows all about the magic of oral stories. Having shared his stories in schools for 15 years, Phil created The Story Spinner DVD range – a series of 42 oral stories for Reception to Year 6 children (see our exclusive offer, below). From the spine tingling to the funny, the head scratching to the tear jerking – The Story Spinner series demonstrates that despite oral stories being the oldest form of communication, they remain an invaluable tool for the 21st century classroom.

This article is based on the story of ‘Mr Wah’ — a short story available for members to watch. It is taken from The Story Spinner Year 3 DVD, but can be enjoyed by all Key Stage 2 children. It recounts a Chinese tale about a little girl and her faithful servant storyteller. Known throughout the land for his superb storytelling, Mr Wah encourages his mistress, Chung I Ling, to share and pass on his stories to others, but when his advice is ignored – the consequences prove almost fatal. Phil McDermott’s captivating narrative, sound effects and facial expressions ensure this 16-minute tale is full of light-hearted and humorous moments that all children will love.

Here, Phil explains how to use oral stories, such as ‘Mr Wah’, as a teaching tool…

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