Diannede Las Casas Storyteller

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Dianne de Las Casas
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Storytelling: A Safari into Literacy.

Dianne de Las Casas writes…
My whole life has been a safari (Swahili word for “journey”) of stories. The power of stories permeated and impacted my life so strongly that, at an early age, I knew I wanted to share stories with the world. It became my life’s dream, which I am realizing today through storytelling and writing books.

Because books, reading, and telling stories are
such an important part of my family’s life, I am always saddened to watch the declining literacy rate in America’s school children. Nearly 2/3 of elementary age children read 2 grade levels below their expected reading level. Why is this happening?

Many of today’s families are not “storied” families. Stories are not
a daily part of life they are not shared at the “campfire” – the dinner table (many families don’t even eat at the dinner table together anymore). There are a vast amount of children who do not have a basic foundation of nursery rhymes and folktales. Imagine my surprise when I learned that my 6 year old niece never heard of Rapunzel because Rapunzel wasn’t a “Disney Princess!”

In addition, few teachers have time to spend
doing something “fun” like storytelling. There are standards and benchmarks to meet as well as tests to administer. Many educators do not understand the value of storytelling and how storytelling is an integral part of literacy in the home and the classroom.

Of course, pop culture also plays a role. Stories are pre-fabricated for our children in the form of television shows, movies, and computer and video games, leaving little room for Read the rest of this entry »

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