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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bryant - Why the Sea Is Salt - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

It's beach time, let's learn "Why the Sea Is Salt" from Sara Cone Bryant in her book, How to Tell Stories to Children and Some Stories to Tell.  The book is geared toward teaching storytelling and Bryant notes:
This book came out initially in 1918, so it's also worth considering if it is still relevant to teaching storytelling.  Bryant makes a point of explaining the difference between telling a story and reading it aloud and why it is more effective.  Whether she told to children or to college women unable to read German literature in the original language, both preferred a re-telling to a reading or even a "recitation."  The storytelling is freer and has a more direct connection between teller and audience, aided also by the teller's enjoyment of the tale. She also points out the value of storytelling beyond reading for the teacher.  The book was written specifically for the teachers who "have not a knack for storytelling, who feel as shy as their youngest scholar at the thought of it, who do not know where the good stories are, or which ones are easy to tell."

On "The Purpose of Storytelling" she points out how it establishes a quick confidential relationship and also provides "the gradual development of concentration and interested attention in (the listeners)" -- those are still goals for language arts.   Before giving her selections, she discusses how to select stories that will be liked and why; how to adapt a story (including making a long story short or filling out a short story -- some stories posted here need such adaptation, but public domain requires the original text); how to tell the story; and specific schoolroom uses.  I challenge you to read the book and find any of her ideas about storytelling that were true in 1918 are untrue 100 years later.

And now her version of

This is part of a series of bi-weekly posting of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories. 

Currently I'm involved in projects taking me out of my usual work of sharing stories with an audience.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  This fall I expect to return to my normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Depending on response, I will decide at that time if "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings.

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