So, in an uncharacteristically brave move on my part, I’ve offered to run some storytelling sessions at our local Oxfam bookshop. The main reason for doing this is to support a great charity and my local shop in particular, which is run by a very enthusiastic and informed lady who has worked incredibly hard to develop the children’s area and the status of children’s books within the shop since she took over.
I have done a wide range of voluntary work over the years (including helping to tidy up some very questionable areas of Manchester during my university years!) but especially enjoyed my work with Volunteer Reading Help in my early twenties. It’s very important to me to feel as though I’m able to help people by sharing whatever skills and knowledge I’ve somehow managed to acquire and throughout my years as a teacher I very much satisfied this need.
However, since I’ve been contemplating setting up my own business in the form of Story Seekers, I’ve been keen to think about how I could try and make sure it isn’t a purely commercial venture. I believe in the premise of Story Seekers – encouraging a love of books and reading from birth onwards – with a sometimes worrying fervour and if I could I’d do the whole shebang (classes, festivals, book clubs, etc) without ever charging anyone a penny. Unfortunately, as I’m yet to win the lottery, I realise that I do have to try and earn some money from my work, but if there’s any way to do some charity work alongside it then that would be ideal.
These free story sessions would be a great way to perhaps get that ball rolling (despite the fact that I’m way off the actual money-making part of my (fingers crossed) future career anyway) and are also a way for me to find my feet a bit and discover whether I’m really cut out for Story Seeking.
Over and above anything else, my main priority remains to deliver a successful series of storytelling sessions for the Oxfam shop and at the moment I’m choosing my books and activities for the slots that are already booked in. If anyone has any thoughts they’d like to share then I’d be hugely grateful, as there are so many experienced people out there who will have done things like this countless times. Despite having been a teacher, this somehow feels very different and scary (albeit in a good way) so I’ll happily soak up any advice anyone may be kind enough to offer!
I’ll post more detail nearer the time as I work it all out, but at the moment I have the titles of the books I’m planning to use.
For the Christmas session (which is for mixed ages up to 6 or 7 years old): ‘Night Tree’ by Eve Bunting and ‘Stick Man’ by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
For the sessions in the new year, which are all along the very broad theme of ‘Woodlands and Wild Things’:
0-2 years – ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury and ”Wow!’ Said The Owl’ by Tim Hopgood.
2-4 years – ‘A Bit Lost’ by Chris Haughton and ‘The Foggy Foggy Forest’ by Nick Sharratt.
4-6 years – ‘Pumpkin Soup’ by Helen Cooper and ‘The Great Snortle Hunt’ by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley.
6-8 years – ‘I Want My Hat Back’ by Jon Klassen and ‘The Troll’ by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts.
As a very brief overview, I am planning to read one of the stories and do some activities based on it, then finish off by reading the other story. As I said, I’ll elaborate more on each session, but any initial feedback would be fab. Thanks!