The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Community Spotlight

By Holly Willdrick Quill Reporter

Story Teller At La Harpe

Nancy Chu has been a storyteller for approximately twenty years. She has taught storytelling at WIU and enjoys hearing stories as well as telling them.

She is always looking for the next best story to tell and the best way to find a great story is to hear it and enjoy it yourself.

She has also taught children's literature. She calls her program "Critters, Creatures, and a Few Good Friends".

Nancy was at the La Harpe High School on Wednesday night to tell some stories to the kindergarten through 2nd Grade students. The children enjoyed four stories.

The Gunny Wolf, which told of a little girl who went into the dark woods to pick flowers and ran into the Gunny Wolf. She was able to sing him to sleep and run out of the woods back to her house.

The story of the Goat in the Chili Patch was her next selection. It told of a goat who had gotten into the old man and women's chili patch and was eating all the chilies. Several animals tried to get him to leave the garden, but it was the little red ant that finally got the job done.

One that everyone has probably heard at some time is Stone Soup. The story of a soldier who comes to town and needs a place to stay and something to eat. The town doesn't really want to open their doors to him, so he goes into the town square and decides that he is going to make stone soup. He gets one family to give him a pot and he boils some water and drops in a stone. This has the town's people wonder what he is doing and they join him to find out. He tells them that it would be better with this or that, and one by one they return to their homes to come back with the items.

In the end the whole town is in the town square sharing stone soup. When the soldier gets ready to move on he goes back and gets the stone...because you never know when you may need to make stone soup.

The last story she told was about the Schnook Family and the problems they were having blowing out their candle. In the end is was the baby of the family that was able to get the job done.

After story hour the children were able to pick out a book and enjoy some snacks. Also on hand were some hand outs from Nancy on tips for telling stories to your children.

1. Books are great, but stories from your childhood are also a wonderful.

2. Choose a story that you really, really like.

3. Think about the story and remember the major events, interesting characters, and rhymes.

4. Use your own words and never try to memorize the book word for word.

5. Ham it up as much as you want and have fun.

6. Sometimes less is more. Let your child's imagination work to fill in descriptive details.

7. When you are telling a story don't worry about forgetting something or being word-perfect.

8. If there is a repeated rhyme or phrase invite your child to say it with you.

9. Don't worry about morals or messages and whether your child will see them. Your child will probably see these and others that you miss.

10. Be ready to tell the same story over and over.

She also shared her five rules of storytelling...

1. There are no rules as to how you MUST tell a story.

2. Don't feel that you must ALWAYS tell a story. Reading to your child is great too.

3. Listen to your child tell stories to you.

4. The best stories are often the simplest and least complicated.

5. If you and your child are NOT having fun with storytelling, you are obeying too many rules. Just do it!