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Dates for assembly

January 29 - February 5 National Storytelling Week

This annual campaign exists to promote "the oldest art form in the world", oral storytelling

Outline script for assembly leaders

Once upon a time, a mother and father and their children were travelling by car. On the motorway, they came to a traffic jam. For a whole hour, they stood still. The traffic didn't move at all. It got hotter and hotter in the car. The radio was boring. There was nothing to do. "Dad," said the younger girl, "tell us a story."

Three friends stood at the bus stop. They waited and waited.

"Hey," said the oldest one suddenly. "Did you remember Ma Jenkins?" She had been one of their teachers in junior school. "Why?" asked the other two.

"Well, guess where I saw her last week!"

A little girl was in hospital, waiting a major operation. Not surprisingly, she was afraid. Her mother sat by her bed, holding her daughter's hand.

"Mum," said the girl, "tell me a story. About when I was little."

"Listen," said the first great English storyteller, hundreds of years ago.

"I shall tell you the story of King Hrothgar, of the great hall he built called Heorot and of the terrible monster Grendel that entered the hall one night and carried off no less than 30 of Hrothgar's soldiers."

We all enjoy a good story. We use stories to stop us being bored, to comfort us when we are afraid and as entertainment. Some stories can teach us important things. One of the world's great storytellers told a tale that began like this: "There was once a man going from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, stripped him and left him half dead."

Follow-up

Encourage students to complete and rehearse telling such stories as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, illustrated above (Luke chapter 10) or other Bible stories such Jonah and the Whale or even Beowulf in their own styles.

On another level, they might simply practise telling jokes and anecdotes effectively. And remember, a good storyteller impels his or her listeners to watch as well as listen.

The Society for Storytelling (SfS) co-ordinates Storytelling Week which includes more than 600 events in museums, libraries and schools. An information pack and calendar of events is available at www.sfs.org.uk Tel: 020 8866 4232 or 0118 935 1381.

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