Stories and Storytelling  




-- Consider the literary aspects of an orally told tale and the power of storytelling. How does a storyteller make a supernatural story more and more eerie, frightening? Identify the principle parts of such a story: abstract (summary of story in a line that often comes first), orientation (information about the setting of the story), episodes (sections of the plot), evaluation (statements throughout the story that comment on the story itself and are not part of the plot), coda (concluding remarks). See Pratt in Textbook by Robert Scholes for more information on these story elements. Also, consider the power of repetition, so often a part of an oral tale. And, determine the interpretive frame of the story: is the tale told seriously or as if it were a joke? See Richard Bauman, Verbal Art as Performance; also, Bauman's Story, Performance, Event

  -- Have students in groups of 2 record (tape-record, minidisk-record, etc) one of each other's stories (supernatural, family, or any story). Ask students to transcribe the story text in several different formats: (1) one prose paragraph, (2) an ethnopoetically-arranged text, (3) a digitally enhanced text. Organize a storytelling session so students can share their stories with the rest of the class; or, consider an open-mike storytelling session open to a broader section of the school's population. Have students contribute to preserving the traditions of their region by submitting their stories to the Northern Virginia Folklife Archive. Fill out release and accession forms on the Archive website (, and mail and email your materials to Dr. Margaret Yocom,