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Storytelling and Literacy
Hearing and Telling Stories- The Connection to Reading, Writing and Speaking

Patti Christensen is a Professional Storyteller and Literacy Specialist.  Patti worked for several years on staff at a Library Literacy program as well as working with many schools and arts in the school programs.    She has been involved with the award-winning Prime Time Family Reading Night- A Family Literacy program which introduces families to in-depth discussion of books together. She understands the pressures on teachers and students to “meet the standards” with more and more standardized testing.

Storytelling is a natural to support and assist other literacy efforts in the classroom and at home, for children and adults alike.

Patti strongly endoreses The California Reading Association Position Paper on storytelling:
Storytelling is an ancient art form through which a storyteller projects mental and emotional images using the spoken word. Using oral literature as the vehicle and the storyteller as the driver, it brings

people from diverse backgrounds together for shared magical moments. Storytelling preserves oral language from previous cultures and brings it to the language of the current generation.

The benefits for students are many and varied. Storytelling presents ideas and thoughts in a pleasurable way bringing people together for a warm and personal shared experience. Because well told stories are so pleasing to students, storytelling establishes a positive attitude towards stories and books. Often students are motivated to read on their own after hearing a good story. Through storytelling, the student hears rich and varied language patterns presented in a particularly satisfying format, which provides the opportunity for listeners of all ages to interact on a personal level.

Besides enjoyment and motivation, there are other benefits. Storytelling helps students understand story structure, as they become exposed to different plots, characters, and setting. It can provide a connection for students who are beginning to write the oral language patterns they hear. The stories that are told act as models for the students' own writing as well as building knowledge of different lives. As a listening activity, storytelling develops listening comprehension and provides the opportunity for using visualization to create mental and emotional images.

The California Reading Association recognizes that:
*   All students benefit from the incorporation of storytelling in the curriculum;
*   Storytelling emphasizes the ties that bind the community of people together through our universal commonalities which are found in stories from all over the world; and
*   Students improve their ability to speak in front of others and gain self confidence.

THEREFORE, the California Reading Association advocates that:
*   Storytelling should be part of the regular curriculum that every student experiences; and
*   Students should be active participants in the act and art of storytelling.

Adopted 1989  The California Reading Association’s Position Paper on Storytelling

Patti is able to provide teacher workshops, performances and student residencies focusing on the role of storytelling in motivating literacy and the importance of reading and writing in schools. Patti has had a life long love of reading and she brings this love and energy and enthusiasm to the serious business of motivating teachers and students of all ages. Through demonstration and hands-on instruction, Patti highlights exciting new techniques drawn from over 20 years of working with children in educational settings. Storytelling works with all students including with English Language Learners, Gifted and Talented, and with students with special needs.

Areas that Patti provides training or in-classroom instruction include:
*  Using storytelling techniques to build reading comprehension skills such as recall, sequencing, and imagery.
*  Making reading come alive while building vocabulary and language skills.
*  Building language skills, including clear pronunciation, projection of voice, and fluency in speaking to make oral and silent reading fun!
*  Inspiring educators through stories to find creative ways in which to promote literacy.
*  Waking up young imaginations through visualization, theatre techniques, teacher narration, and character development.
*  Integrating Howard Gardner's theory of multiple-intelligences into literacy training.

Patti is renowned for her energetic and animated storytelling performances and highly sought after as speaker for conference, trainings and staff development workshops. These exciting trainings encourage and inspire educators with stimulating, innovative techniques and key insights into the role of storytelling in building literacy.

Patti also is a popular performer at Family Reading or Literacy Nights, helping parents and children to delight in sharing literature coming to life through storytelling.


Ms. Christensen has a style of her own that energizes, mesmerizes and inspires the young, and not so young.  Taking stories and bringing them to life is no small accomplishment.  After spending an afternoon at one of her storytelling sessions, I heard one elementary school student proclaim, "Wow! The book is better than the movie!" That, my friend, is no small accomplishment..
Josephine Jones , Literacy Services Coordinator, Escondido Public Library Literacy Services

Excellent, vivacious, interactive presentation.  What wonderful ideas for getting our learners excited and engaged.  My favorite workshop so far!!!
Training Participant

Your workshop at the Southern California Library Literacy Network Literacy Conference was easily one of the most popular.  It was a pleasure having you present this year, and I hope we can entice you into returning to present at the 2008 gig.
Rod Williams, Palmdale City Library, Literacy Coordinator

What I liked most was the sharing and Patti’s great stories and energy.  Great Workshop!
Lorrie Ames

Dear Ms. Christensen,
I want to thank you so very much for telling us those wonderful stories.  I also want to thank you because you inspired me to write a story.  And the class hopes you can come back someday and teach us more stories we can tell our families.
Love, Sheyenna


Learn more about Patti

Artist in Residence Fullbright Scholar Storywork News about Patti

Contact Patti at
(760) 732-0117