Center for Teaching Through Children's Books Hosts International Storytellers
By Robert Schroeder
If Americans live in a globalized society, then American students should be reading globalized stories.
That is the message National Louis University's Center for Teaching through Children's Books is promoting at their two-day conference on "Teaching Through International Storytelling and Bookmaking." The conference is headlined by Anne Pellowski, founder of the Information Center on Children's Cultures.
"This is an area where those of us in literacy have felt that classroom teachers should have a much broader perspective than they are afforded through their education and professional development," said Gail Bush, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Teaching through Children's Books and a professor in the National College of Education.
The conference kicks off Monday, June 20 at 7 p.m. at National Louis University's North Shore campus. Pellowski will engage in an evening of international storytelling, complete with tea and fair trade chocolate. On Tuesday, June 21, participants will engage in a variety of workshops and breakout sessions on amplifying the stories teachers use in classrooms.
Kathleen Rauth, a longtime teacher and storyteller, will deliver a workshop on helping students connect personally with literature, while Anne Shimojima, an experienced elementary school library media specialist, will describe how storytelling can be expanded into activities that enrich student learning, like creative drama, creation of picture books and videos, and teaching storytelling.
Jane Stenson, storyteller-in-residence at the Baker Demonstration School in Wilmette, Ill., will explain how she teaches children to tell stories, while Laura Montenegro from the Art Institute of Chicago will lead attendees in the creation of a porquoi storybook, which is an imaginative how-and-why tale. Ann Speltz, general secretary of the United States Board on Books for Young People and an adjunct faculty at National Louis, will lead a session on the actual creation of books.
Rives Collins, chair of the Department of Theater at Northwestern University and co-author of "The Power of Story: Teaching Through Storytelling," will also be in attendance to share his thoughts on teaching creative drama to young students.
"Educators everywhere are seeing their classrooms as international communities," Bush said. "In order to engage all students with literature and with books they can relate to, see themselves in and broaden their own perspective, there's a real impetus in the global community to introduce this to students."
The conference is an extension of the central mission of the Center for Teaching through Children's Books, which seeks to create excellence in teaching with quality literature for children and adolescents, with a focus on multicultural and international literature to learn about the world.