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Magic of Performance Literacy (Documentary Video,13
minutes, Real Media)
Reading professor and
performance poet Nile Stanley, and storyteller, Brett
Dillingham work the magic of performance literacy at
Riverbend Elementary School, Juneau, Alaska.
Autumn Leaves (Documentary Video, 26 minutes, Real
Storyteller, Brett Dillingham does performance literacy at
Stepping Stones Pupil Referral Unit, Cauderdale Council,
Halifax, England. The school is for learning and emotionally
disabled students who have not succeeded in the mainstream
classroom. Watch as challenged children are transformed
through storytelling and become engaged in productive
language and literacy.
Storytelling Minilesson (2.5 minutes, Real Media)
Elise Rose, 4th grader,
retells the The Singing Geese (1998) by Jan Wahl and
Sterling Brown. An African-American tall tale in which a man
shoots a singing goose and takes it home to pluck it and
roast it. Just as he is about to carve it, the goose raises
its head and sings a song, "La lee loo. Come quilla, come
quilla. Bang, bang, bang! Quilla bang."
Experience: Read a folktale picture book .
Reflect: Recall and draw the story events.
Apply: Retell the story in your own words. Use voice,
movement and expression.
Storytelling: I wouldn't Let it Concern Me, by Nile Stanley
Quarterly, Spring 2007
The story is accompanied by a mini-lesson for use in the
reading classroom. The Experience, Reflect, and Apply model
maximizes learning in this fun and productive lesson.
Storytelling: Pudge Smoot's
Golden Arm, by Nile Stanley
Reading Quarterly, Winter 2007
Learn to write and tell the jump tale, a scary story in
which the teller uses the dramatic pause followed by a
sudden loud outburst to scare the audience and get them to
jump out of their seats.
by Brett Dillingham
Educators struggle to find
ways to engage students in literacy development and content
area exploration. Performance literacy is a process of
teaching students to perform their own writing-usually
stories or poetry. It embraces skills in the two primary
areas associated with storytelling: story development, in
which students develop the skills to write original stories,
poems, and other narrative events; and story delivery, in
which students perform their narrative events in engaging,
creative ways. Oral language development through telling and
retelling stories is the foundation for writing and
performing. Through this process students provide an
opportunity for parents and community members to see and
assess their children performing culturally responsive
literacy while conducting themselves in a professional
Abstract from Dillingham, B. (2005, September). Performance
Literacy. The Reading Teacher, 59(1), 72-75. doi:
10.1598/RT.59.1.7. Available at
- Writing Opportunities and Reading Development for Student
Hills Elementary School
Making the Grade