The Art of Storytelling and How You Can Encourage Creativity in Your Kids

Last Updated by Kate Spears on

There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream - whatever that dream might be. - Pearl S. Buck 

This week on the Get Ready To Learn radio show, join host Cindy Putman as she discusses the art of storytelling with motivational speaker Steve Donahue. Donahue was the guest speaker at WCTE’s 2017 Annual Dinner and he was kind enough to sit down with us to share his ideas about storytelling on the radio.

Donahue says that everyone is a storyteller and his advice to young storytellers or anyone who wants to share a story is to begin with writing what you know. This includes things you experienced that have happened to you and to people that you love. But it’s not enough just to share facts. Real stories told from your heart are the best stories. Donahue credits some very special teachers in his life who saw something different in him and encouraged him to pursue his dreams.

He spent a time in his twenties traveling across the Sahara Desert and from that adventure he gained the belief that all people are exactly the same. He believes they all have the same desires and dreams for themselves and for their children. Donahue said he learned that all people want their families to prosper and their children to be happy.

Donahue also says that meeting people from all around the world has helped him understand that storytelling is a way to truly share who we are and where we're from with another person. He also uses his family as a source of storytelling, drawing from his experiences growing up with a large family in the sixties and seventies in Toledo, Ohio.

He recollects how they would reenact episodes of the Ed Sullivan Show on a landing on the stairs of their family home. They’d come out from behind a curtain to perform, and all his siblings were given special roles. Steve soon realized that his true talent was storytelling. He had a desire to dance and loved the old musicals with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. He also credits theater in high school for giving him the opportunity to build confidence and have a chance to craft his dancing skills.

Donahue also believes that being a stand-up comic help him prepare for his life occupation as a storyteller and a motivational speaker. He truly understands the special opportunity he has been given to travel all around the globe and share his life experiences and his voice with audiences. He feels fortunate to be able to make a living as a professional motivational speaker and storyteller and he strongly credits those people in his life who helped him understand his stories have importance. This includes educators and friends and mentors he encountered along the way who told him he could inspire others for greatness.

Cindy Putman shared stories from her own family and reminded Donahue that sometimes our children aren’t pleased to be featured in stories told by their parents, depending on what the stories are about. Donahue quickly reminded Putman that because he had an active role in raising his children, he feels he has the right and the investment to share their stories. Putman and Donahue agree that telling stories is a way of passing down our heritage from one generation to the next. Creative writing is one way to share our stories, and PBS Parents has some great resources for parents who want to help your child discover his or her inner writer.

Perhaps your child would like to start his or her own writing club? Here are some great tips for getting started.

Storytelling can be helpful for kids as young as toddlers, as they are learning about sequence and language development.

Want more resources for storytelling? Check out all the great books in your public library for your children and maybe spend some time writing your own story to share. Encourage your child to write his own story and remember in each of our lives is a story waiting to be told. We just have to channel the power to craft that story.  

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Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM. 

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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

Topics are listed below:

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  • How does poverty effect a child’s brain
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