B.K. Craig students enjoy story time with a pro

Published 9:43pm Thursday, October 11, 2012

Groups of wide-eyed children, bracing themselves for what would come next, gathered in the B.K. Craig Elementary School cafeteria Thursday.

At first glance, one would think these children were watching an action-packed movie, or maybe participating in a video game. But instead, they were listening to the elaborate stories of Carmen Deedy, who will be performing at the Tale Tellin’ Festival Friday and Saturday.

Deedy, a Havana Cuba native, told stories of her childhood growing up in Georgia as a Cuban immigrant.

“I grew up with great Southern and Cuban story tellers,” Deedy said, who has been a storyteller for 22 years. “I’m sort of telling stories about growing up in the South.”

She opened her story with a comical recollection of when a new kid named Dill moved in next door when she was 6-years-old.

“Children are hungry for these stories,” she said. “Young people and children use so much technology that when they see a human being they’re looking to see where the wires are.”

Martha Lockett, a volunteer with Arts Revive, the organization that sponsors the Tale-Tellin’ Festival, said storytelling is especially important for children because it teaches literacy.

“That’s the skill that kids need to be able to read and comprehend,” Lockett said. “We’re really trying to stress that by doing this.”

Deedy visited Brantley Elementary Wednesday and will be telling stories to third, fourth and fifth graders at Hudson Elementary School Friday.

Lockett said by Friday afternoon, Deedy will have reached more than 1,000 children.

“The kids have to follow her story and say different things during different cues,” Lockett said. “We think it’s really important for kids to learn that literacy is storytelling, it’s not just reading the same story five days a week.”

Along with storytelling, Deedy also writes children’s books, which she said she is passionate about.

She also encouraged everyone to come out to the Tale Tellin’ Festival and said, “You better come early if you want a seat because it’s going to be a great time.”

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