The Art of the Story

The Storytelling School

Handbook for Teachers - 2nd Edition

Chris Smith, Ph.D. & Adam Guillain

Foreword by Pie Corbett

A step-by-step guide to becoming a storytelling school and using storytelling to teach your students

Storytelling Schools Series
Volume 1

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This handbook describes a revolutionary way of delivering primary education. In a storytelling school all children learn to be storytellers, retelling and improving stories from memory as a way of learning both language and subject content across the curriculum. Children graduate with a repertoire of their own stories to tell. This approach has been shown to raise standards and fire imaginations in schools throughout the UK.

Chris Smith and Adam Guillain show you how to make this happen in practice. The handbook draws on more than ten years experience researching and developing this way of teaching. Piloted, researched and up-dated, this second edition includes new chapters on non-fiction teaching and cross-curricular integration across the school. It is packed with practical activities, examples, theory, charts, diagrams and photocopiable pages. It explains step-by-step how to become a storytelling school including how to:

  • Tell stories to your class
  • Develop and innovate on a learned story
  • Invent new stories
  • Link storytelling to improving writing standards
  • Apply the method to non-fiction teaching
  • Plan across the curriculum using the Storytelling School approach

The Storytelling Schools approach has had a transforming effect on our approach to literacy and the teaching of writing. In a relatively short time the impact on writing outcomes, pupil motivation and teacher expertise has been profound – it’s an approach that every school leader will want to know more about.

- David Lewin, Head Teacher, Wood Farm Primary School, Oxford


Storytelling, taken as seriously as this, delights pupils and teachers alike and provides a foundation for the most remarkable growth in pupil confidence and competence in writing. All the evidence I have seen is that it also extends the skills of teachers.

- Sir Tim Brighouse, former Schools Commissioner for London

147 Traditional Stories for Primary School Children to Retell

Storytelling Schools Series, Volume II

Chris Smith, Ph.D.

Inside spiral bound

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In England, a group of innovative educators created the idea of Storytelling Schools, primary schools where storytelling is the key way that children learn.  By which is not meant only learning to listen to stories, but to actually learn the stories by heart, learn to retell them, learn how to adapt and change them, and finally learn to reassemble different elements from different stories as an entirely new story.

In the course of all this, these children find sure footing in language skills, organizing their thoughts, clear communication, and develop not only the self confidence that comes from really truly learning something, but they also learn the foundations of learning and thinking themselves.

Over a period of ten years, Storytelling Schools throughout Great Britain have become a revolutionary way of delivering primary education.  In a storytelling school retelling and improving stories from memory is a way of learning both language and subject content across the curriculum. Children graduate with a repertoire of their own stories to tell. This approach has been shown to raise standards and fire imaginations in schools throughout the UK, and it can do the same for any children you teach.

147 Traditional Stories for Primary School Children to Retell was written and compiled as a comprehensive reference for teachers in search of stories to teach their class.  The stories range from very simple tales for first graders all the way to long, complex stories for students in Grade 6.  Altogether, the collection is rich and masterful.

Included here is an introduction that gives concise and meaningful guidance for using these stories to teach students the art of storytelling.  Additionally, the Introduction is simply inspiring: any teacher reading it will find him- or herself  energized and empowered to carry out this approach to education itself.

Personally, I think that this method is a 'next step' that would enhance and focus Waldorf education for the modern world.  I can't think of a better addition to Steiner's curriculum than incorporating this active element into it.  When children are taught to do what the see and admire adults doing, they are drawn away from media-centric, advertising-ridden elements in our culture and toward wholesome creativity and confidence-of-place in the world.  In short, children become too interested and too busy with the joy of what they learn to feel much like bothering with something less.  The invention of Storytelling Schools was an act of educational brilliance - I only hope that they and their impulse continue to thrive and that teachers everywhere in in every sort of school incorporate this method into their classes.

Recommended without reservation and with much hope!

Storytelling for a Greener World

Environment, Community and Story-Based Learning

Edited by Alida Gersie, Anthony Nanson and Edward Schieffelin

Foreword by Jonathon Porritt


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This is a beautiful, deeply considered delving into the power and wonder of stories, how traditional stories have shaped the way generations have seen the earth, and what it can be to reshape some of those stories to reflect a union and love between man and nature.

There are many authors and viewpoints between the covers of this wonderful book.  Each story they select and the thoughts they share about it are like an overflowing cornucopia of delight and wonder, knowledge and wisdom.  Where one might expect to find "nice, environmentally friendly" stories, instead you will be treated to literary richness grounded in the depths of history and folk wisdom. 

Storytelling for a Greener World is a treasure to be visited and revisited as often as possible.


From the publisher:

A treasury of 43 stories, creative activities, techniques, tips and descriptions of inspiring practice to both empower newcomers and seasoned practitioners.

A handy, unique and authoritative resource for developing innovative story-work, and a key sourcebook of lasting usefulness.

This handbook offers time-tested stories, creative activities and methods that environmental educators and storytellers can use to affect people’s pro-environmental behavior.  Whether it is a brief mention of seeing a skein of geese flying in an evening sky, or children from a tough area getting inspired by kittiwakes, both adults and children can engage profoundly with nature through the imaginative power of story, with lasting personal and environmental changes.

It explores the links between storytelling and emotional literacy, place, environmental justice, connecting with alienated youngsters, how to encourage children and adults’ curiosity about nature, building community, sustainability and indigenous peoples, local legends, human-animal communication and how to co-create a sustainable future together.

Storytelling for a Greener World brings together the wisdom of cutting-edge storytellers who offer a range of distinctive but complementary approaches to the art of telling stories for environmental education in 21 chapters.

The Storyteller's Way

Sourcebook for inspired storytelling

Ashley Ramsden and Sue Hollingsworth


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What I find very special about this guidebook is that it reads as a great story in itself.  The telling of this path reads like a fascinating page-turner, the authors exploring an adventure-filled wilderness of human life and the ways that 'story' becomes a sustaining part of our existence.  The exercises they suggest are so well-described that you will want to try them out right away, they are just that interesting.  I can't think of a better way to enter the world of storytelling, nor a surer way to learn to captivate children and delight one and all.

Ashley Ramsden and Sue Hollingsworth invite you to realise your potential as a storyteller, for they believe that everyone can tell a story, but to tell it well requires a certain set of skills.  Whether you're starting out or want to develop your storytelling expertise, this book is an essential guide. It can be used to tell stories for entertainment, teaching, coaching, healing or imbuing life with meaning.

Inside you'll find a wealth of stories, exercises, questions, tips and insights to guide your storytelling path, offering time- tested and trusted ways of improving your skills, addressing blocks and helping you become a confident and inspirational storyteller. Ashley and Sue share the trials and triumphs of their personal storytelling journeys and explore what it means to be a storyteller today.


  • Starting out and First Steps- Nuts and Bolts
  • Basics and Beyond
  • Senses
  • Rhythm and Repetition
  • Polarities
  • Temperaments
  • Thresholds
  • Dynamics
  • Gestures
  • Gazes
  • Relating
  • Silence
  • Levels of Language
  • Voice
  • The Deeper Current-Self Development and Storytelling
  • Quotes
  • Stories
  • Tips
  • Exercises
  • Examples
  • Resources

--  Ashley Ramsden and Sue Hollingsworth teach at the International School of Storytelling, founded in 1994 at Emerson College, England. They perform and run courses worldwide. With a background in theatre and speech, Ashley has developed unique methods of teaching storytelling and voice work. He is particularly known for his one man shows of A Christmas Carol, The Amazing Adventures of the Hodja Nasruddin, Tistou, and The Man Who Planted Hope. Sue tells true life tales, leads wilderness and pilgrimage storywalks and runs storytelling retreats for women. Her performances of Along the Way, Out of Eden and Conducting the Storm invite us into a new relationship with nature.

An A-Z Collection of Behaviour Tales

Susan Perrow

Illustrated by Allmut Ffrench



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Goodness, I sure wish I had had this book when my children were small! As a young Waldorf Mom, I wanted to know how to help my son learn to be more patient or more grateful. I heard about "healing stories," where I could share a story about a squirrel that helped him learn, A brilliant idea, but I didn't quite know where to start. This book solves that problem.

Containing a complete collection of healing stories for children (or adults!), the book has an alphabet of situations with stories to match. Angry Ant and Anxious Roo all the way to Zestless Zebra and everything in between, these stories are a treasure trove of healing and help to parents and teachers alike. Highly recommended!

The Zesty Zebra via

Susan Perrow makes her home in Australia, but travels world-wide giving workshops and training seminars. She is a teacher, trainer, mentor and parent educator specializing in storytelling and its healing power.

6 1/4" x 9 1/4", 144pp., 2017.

Therapeutic Storytelling

101 Healing Stories for Children

Susan Perrow



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Susan Perrow passionately believes that "stories know the way." Working with imaginative journeys and the mystery and magic of metaphor, she has developed the art of therapeutic storytelling for challenging behavior in children and difficult situations. She offers a tried-and-tested method for creating a unique story for a child to help resolve issues and build emotional resilience and character.

This treasury of 101 new healing stories address a range of issues – from unruly behavior to grieving, anxiety, lack of confidence, bullying, teasing, nightmares, intolerance, inappropriate talk, toileting, bed-wetting and much more. The stories also have the potential for nurturing positive values.

  • Create your own therapeutic stories, using handy tips, exercises and methods such as the "metaphor, journey, and resolution framework."
  • Therapeutic Storytelling includes suitable behavior stories for children aged 3 to 10 years old;
  • how to use of healing stories for global and national challenging situations;
  • how to develop storytelling skills using useful tips and anecdotes;
  • as well as modern and traditional wisdom tales from around the world.

Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour

Susan Perrow



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Susan Perrow has developed the art of pedagogical stories to a luminescent degree. In her beautiful book she offers dozens of stories, some her own, some traditional and retold by her. Each story carries with it the seed of healing for just about any childhood problem, from unruly behavior to deep grieving. Her voice is one of warmth and caring, her stories are richly engaging to young and old alike.

Having her book at hand is like having a medicine chest filled with homeopathic remedies for all conditions - and, like homeopathy, Susan's stories are guaranteed to produce no unwanted side effects.

Healing Stories includes chapters on creating stories and on the art of storytelling, as well as stories selected for their ability to heal. This is a resource that is so vast in its usefulness that we predict it will become one of the most sought after parent/teacher resources ever printed.

Storytelling with Children

Revised Edition

Nancy Mellon



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Nancy Mellon's has written a book that is pure joy. Here's a guide from the heart that will inspire you to create times of wonder for the children in your life. Step into the magical world of storytelling, light a candle, invite the children to draw near as you share old stories, new stories, family stories that will become beloved treasures for all life.

Nancy will show you how to create a listening space, use the day's events and rhythms to make stories, transform old stories and make-up new ones, bring family stories to life, learn stories by heart using pictures, inner theater, walk about and build your own rich storycupboard. Enjoy this adventuresome book - it will warm your heart and stir your soul.

Bedtime Storytelling

A Collection for Parents

Beatrys Lockie



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What is so special about telling stories? Unlike reading from a book, one’s arms are free to gesture and use props—or give a tickle. Above all, one can make eye contact and see and respond to a child’s reactions.

This collection of classic tales includes advice on how to tell stories to children—how to establish a routine, create a mood, involve children, and personalize stories. The stories are suitable for children three to seven years of age. Many are old favorites that are told regularly in kindergartens, nurseries, and schools—tales about magical creatures and exotic animals, as well as stories from everyday life. Many people believe they cannot tell stories. Beatrys Lockie, however, believes firmly that everyone is a storyteller, though it may take a little practice.

Stories are offered by age groups: Ages 3-4, 5-6 and 6-7 and include: “The Little Jug”; “The Mitten”; “The Tomten”; “The Star Child”; “How the Zebra Got its Stripes”; “King Grizzly Beard”; and “Hans in Luck.”

A warm and wonderful book - something every parent will want close at hand.

Making Peg Dolls

Margaret Bloom


Full-color photographs and step-by-step instructions throughout

Completely charming and inviting!


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Invite yourself and every child you know or teach into a playful world that delights at every turn!  Making Peg Dolls joyously shows how to easily make simple, lovable toys for children that can also be used as table puppets for storytelling.  These little Waldorf-inspired dolls are so engaging that all of us here wanted drop everything so that we could make peg dolls and play with them.

Truly, there are worlds to be created for children (and by children age 10 and over!), just waiting for you between the pages of this wonderful book.  You can see for yourself by watching this video that is just too sweet not to share:


You will find complete patterns for  creating bluebirds and butterflies, flowers and fairytale figures, gnomes, winter angels, and more!

Included are:

  • Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions for children and crafters of all levels and experience
  • Beautiful color illustrations and photos
  • A range of over 60 designs and patterns for peg dolls
  • Ideas for peg dolls as gifts and toys, for seasonal nature tables or fairs
  • An inspiring section on storytelling with peg dolls

You can find peg dolls like those used in the book from our friends a

Interpretation of Fairy Tales

Roy Wilkinson


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Interesting and useful, Wilkinson offers interpretations of the most beloved of the Grimm's fairy tales.

Fairy Tales considered are:

  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Mother Holle
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • The Elves and the Shoemaker
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • The Golden Goose
  • Strong Hans
  • The Travelling Musicians
  • The Frog Prince
  • The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • The Valiant Little Tailor
  • The Billy Goats Gruff
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • The Shoes that Were Danced to Pieces
  • The Fisherman and His Wife
  • Tom Thumb
  • Snow-White and Rose-Red
  • The Queen Bee
  • Cinderella
  • The Table, the Donkey and the Stick
  • The White Snake
  • The Three Languages
  • Iron Henry
  • King Thrushbeard
  • Star Money
  • The Devil and the Three Golden Hairs
  • The Shroud
  • The Water of Life
  • Rapunzel
  • The Goose Girl at the Well
  • The Poor Miller's Boy and the Cat
  • The Golden Bird
  • Hans in Luck
  • The Crystal Ball
  • Simeli Mountain
  • The Sleeping Beauty
  • Spindle, Shuttle and Needle
  • The Three Little Men in the Wood

Once Upon a Fairy Tale, Volume 1

Norbert Glass



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This is a classic exploration of the meaning behind the story of well-loved fairy tales. It's a treat to be able to carry Glas's books at long last and to know that they are still being read. I think you'll find his warmth and insight to make for compelling and nurturing reading.

Volume one takes a close look at Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow-White and Rose-Red and Cinderella.

For adults to enjoy - please let your children just live in the stories. The meanings are something they can learn about when they grow up.

Once Upon a Fairy Tale, Volume 2

Norbert Glas


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Volume 2 continues of Glas's commentary on fairy tales. In it, the author explores Little Red Cap (aka Little Red Riding Hood), Mary's Child, Briar Rose and The Handless Maiden.

Wonderful reading - for adults, not children.

The Wisdom of Fairy Tales

Rudolf Meyer



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Rudolf Meyer's now classic work introduces us to the archetypal imagery that is the life within all fairy tales and is why we all find them so interesting and soul-satisfying. Meyer rediscovers the meaning behind the images and lets us see how these stories can have a profoundly positive influence on the lives of children in our modern world. Fairy tales told to a child return to the world as the source of ideals and imaginative, creative thinking in the adult that child becomes.

The prince, the tailor, the miller, the princess and the evil queen are all images of different elements within our own nature. When we see these elements play out in fairy tales, we are strengthened by the discovery of the pathways through which what is good and true really does triumph in the end.

This is a fine book for any adult wanting to understand the magical resonance of fairy tales.

A Lifetime of Joy

Bronja Zahlingen

A collection of circle games, finger games, songs, verses, and plays for puppets and marionettes



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A Lifetime of Joy is a rare and wonderful tribute to Bronja Zahlingen's (1/8/1912 to 1/24/2000) life's work; in return, it is a gift from Bronja to all the children and adults whose lives it will touch and nurture. Just to look through it's pages is to feel the warmth, wisdom and love that every child in her kindergarten felt for so very many beautiful years.

Included in this volume are all the plays from her sparkling Plays for Puppets and Marionettes -- and much, much more. There are songs, wee stories for the seasons and other times, nature tales, circle games, verses. In addition, there is a touching account of Bronja's life and work, and articles for teachers and parents. The two articles, "On Movement, Gesture and Language in the Life of the Young Child" and "The Pedagogical Value of Marionette and Table Puppet Shows for the Small Child" are welcome additions to everyone's understanding. Even the photo on the cover speaks volumes about the wealth we can present to children through simple stories told with marionettes.