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ERIC Number: EJ1087534
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1094-9046
Expanding Horizons and Encouraging New Perspectives through Myths: Experiments in Interactive Storytelling in an Elementary School Library
Giffard, Sue
Knowledge Quest, v44 n3 p18-27 Jan-Feb 2016
The scenario that the author encountered when she began working in her present position was not unusual for an elementary school library: the students study a culture, and the librarian reads the stories of that culture to them to enrich the study and to make the culture come alive. The fourth-graders studied the Maya in the fall and the ancient Egyptians in the spring. In her first year in the job the author did what had been done before: she read Mary-Joan Gerson's "The People of Corn" and Deborah Nourse Lattimore's "The Winged Cat." Students did research on assigned individual Egyptian gods without really knowing the stories about them. It was not a disaster, but it was unsatisfying, both for the author and her students. She had to figure out some other way. Is it possible to share mythology in a way that respects the culture, draws the kids in, and makes the stories both interesting and alive? The traditional answer is: find a good retelling of the myths and read them aloud. The fact that the retellings can have difficult language, have incomplete stories, or take for granted prior knowledge of the context or background--all of these issues are easily pushed aside because what other choice does one have? This article is the story of how the author, a school librarian who is only an average storyteller, lacking dramatic flair or the ability to do multiple voices and accents, turned this situation around and began telling the myths to her students in a way that encouraged participation and resulted in engagement and enjoyment for everyone.
American Association of School Librarians. Available from: American Library Association. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Tel: 1-800-545-2433; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: Media Staff; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A