Storyteller entertains at River Grove
Michael Lockett performs Oct. 4 at the Family Literacy Night at River Grove Elementary School in River Grove. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 12, 2012 10:48AM
RIVER GROVE — Excitement flowed from the voices and limbs of students gathered Thursday night in the River Grove Elementary School gymnasium all the while learning in the process.
The school invited children’s author and storyteller Michael Lockett — also known as “The Normal Storyteller” — to spend Oct. 4 at the school as part of its yearlong Storypalooza activities to promote reading among students.
Mary Chamberlin, the school’s Title 1 teacher who helped organize the event, said Lockett helped educators reach students. He did presentations in various classes during the school day, and wrapped up the day’s activities with interactive storytelling that evening part of Family Literacy Night in the school’s gym.
“The goal (of the workshop and assembly) was to get kids inspired to tell their own stories,” Chamberlin said.
Lockett’s stories came from books he had written and had for sale after the event.
Students and parents seemed to be inspired with Lockett’s animated storytelling, which included singing and playing a harmonica. He had the students — clapping, stomping and laughing , along with parents and teachers — enjoying his interactive styling as well.
“I don’t know how he does it, the way he make things come alive,” Chamberlin said.
Travis Baker brought his two daughters to the event and said they enjoyed it.
“It was cool,” he said. “It was something educational for the kids.”
“It was very interactive for parents and kids,” said Barbara Mitchell of River Grove, who brought her 5-year-old daughter Aubrey Grant. “He kept everyone entertained.”
Maureen Deahl, president of River Grove School Parent Teacher Association, said this is the second time the group has done this kind of activity. The first time had limited results.
“The first time we had 10 people and now we had over 150 people, so we’re very happy,” she said.
Lockett, who is a retired educator, said he’s been storytelling for more than 40 years.
“I think it’s important that adults tell stories to their kids,” he said. “It’s the best way they can help their kids is to tell them stories. It helps them read, speak and sleep.”
River Grove Elementary School Principal Lisa Skelly hopes the excitement Lockett and the program created caries into the classroom.
“My hope is they get excited about reading and writing,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for parents and teachers to build on what the kids did today.”
To inspire the students to write more, the school is having a writing contest where students will write their own story. The winning story will be turned into a play to presented to the public.