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"The Story Hour." Address delivered before the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, July 29, 1965 by Rachel D. Harris. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky LFP_rblue_2_06_06 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. "The Story Hour." Address delivered before the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, July 29, 1965 by Rachel D. Harris. American Liberty League. unknown unknown 1965-07-29 Is Part of the Reverend Thomas F. Blue Papers, ca. 1905-1935 housed at the Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, KY. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. ï»¿TH3 STOPY HOUR An Address Delivered before the * * ft* â€¢ â€¢ EATIOSAL ASSOCIATION OF T3SACHBRS JW COLORS!) SCHOOLS Cincinnati, 0. July 29Â» 1915 Rachel D. Harris Assistant in the Louisville I?ree Public Library In Charge of Children's Work in the Colored Libraries of Louisville The Story Hour When we introduafed the Story Hour into the Louisville Free Public Library system* our aim ^as single. We desired that the children coming to us should cultivate a taste for the best in literature by reading the books on our shelves. These uooks had been carefully selected by some of the best trained librarians of the country and represented the choicest in juvenile literature. We gathered the children together in groups and told them the stories from the books on our shelves and had the natural result* Most every child wanted to read the book containing the story just told* This method kept our story books ï»¿in constant circulation. We then became brave and a daring plan was made at a considerable expense to the Library Board. The head of the Children's Department planned an outline of stories from Eng-lish history beginning with the earliest epoch through the reign of Queen Victoria. Our Board gave us a liberal supply of English histories adapted for children ?*nd we entered upon thie course with a determination to make the escpense worth while and indeed the result far exceeded our esgpectation. There never remained on the shelves in the children1 s room a fcin&le English history. There was a constant demand for theni and many a child was led to a love of the study of history through thie course. Even girla learn to love the study. Tell some of the incidents in the stories of Little Nell, Tiny Tim, Davy Copperfield and Oliver Twist to older children and a desire for Dickens will be awakened. Girls and boys have been led to a desire to read Victor's Hugo's masterpiece by beinG told some of the interesting adveaturee of Jean Val Jean or little Oossette. Different authors on the story and its purpose egress the paramount aim of the story in different ways, yet they do not, in the main, disagree. Sara Cone Bryant, the established authority on the subject spyst "The message of the story is the message of beauty, as effective as that message in marble or paint. Its part in ï»¿â€¢9* the economy of life is to. ^ive t\o$s. And the purpose and working of the Joy is found in that quiokening of the spirit which answers every perception of the truly beautiful in the arts of man. To give joy; in and tliiyiyffi the joy to stir and feed the life? of the spirit, this is the function of the story in education.* And again, "She greatest aim of story filing is to enlarge the child's spiritual experience and stimulate healthy reaction upon it". Xn a recent issue of the Story Tellers' Hagasine the editor makes this statement* *Ho*r of all the great aims ot the Story Tellers Magazine the greatest is to teach young people of the on-coming generation through the medium of well told stories the value and beauty of those cardinal virtues of heart and soul, which uplift the individual and form the foundation stones of true character building* * Children love the story form of education and information beyond any other as do we all, makes no difference vrhat our age. Our Gracious Taster Himself used this pleasing and convincing moans of conveying his message of true conduct of living to the throngs that listened to him daily. It beoomes a comparatively simple matter with the right kind of a story, to encourage children through the medium of their hearts to a true and lasting understanding of the cardinal virtues of obedience, perseveranoe, patience, gentlenesst courage, courtesy, purity and the proper application of the ï»¿-4- Golden Rule. "Through the Soul" interest they are led to an aoquain tanoe and understanding of the humanities and receive lasting impressions of the real meaning of duty, honor, truth, honesty, patriotism, loyalty and kindred virtues. By means of the story properly selected children are led to avoid selfishness, eovetousness, cruelty, trickery, lying meanness, deceit and kindred vices. This, of course, does not mean that the Story Hour has the power to instantaneously v/ipe out the above vices and instill the foregoing virtues^ entirely overcoming all hereditary tendencies, but the seed is sown and is compelled to bear good fruit. â– In making round of visits during the past year a certain principal of one of our large schools, a man of broad experience and a student of human nature, called to me with a deeply perplexed countenance: "Could you spare the time to come to our school again very soon? I want you to hold story hour in one of my rooms. There ia a class of boys there who seem to have inherited all the vices under the sun, but above all - selfishness and untruthfulness.n If you have ever used the story hour for just such a purpose you will see why he did not say to me, 11 Since you have taught Sunday School so long and since you are a member of a minister1a family, wonft you come and give these boys a lecture on the evils of lying and ï»¿selfishness?" X returned the following week and told the stories "The golden pears" and "The two brothers". I do not know of the subsequent result of these stories but I do know I left a xnore subdued and tittughtful class for at least part of that day. These two aims - the cultivation of a taste for good literature and the forming of a foundation of true character build* ing * alone would make the story hour worth while, but His not There is nothing more helpful to a teacher in the class room than the fixed attention of the pupils; and there is no method more conducive to the cultivation of the habit of fixed attention than the story period. The story not only cultivates the habit of fixed-attention but in doing so establishes a friendly relation between teacher and pupil, with* out which the most brilliant teacher will fail* One of the boys who frequents our library gave us so ** 0 ** - *5^ii much trouble that among our staff we called him the "library pest*Â» He was prevailed upon one Tuesday afternoon to attend our story hour, v/e now oall him "Sunny Jim*Â« His rapt attention during the telling of our stories is so encouraging and stimulating that we feel that something is radically wrong if "Sunny Jimf Is not present; and woe to the thoughtless one who laughs at the wrong time, or makes the least noise while those stories are being told* "Jim*a* look is more banefully eloquent than any lesture we could give. ï»¿.6- Has there ever come a time in your school room when the atmosphere was so tense that it seemed charged T7ith dynamite, ready to explode at any moment? When you felt "all out of sorts" and the class manifested the same condition? met MO who took me bodily to her room notwithstanding my assuring her that I had to "nalce another school" that day* "You will have to come* says she Ptm something will go off in here sure." By telling the story of Peik, a nonsense llorwegian tale, the atmosphere was cleared, everybody happy, and a deep sigh of relief told of it who happened to be a good story she came to school that morning without her anecdote which she so often used aa an antidote. Keep your class in a good humor and you can teach them most anything. There are so many "whye" for the story hour that we can not speak of them all but there is one other yftry, important thing it does for the child-it aids in verbal expression; it increases its vocabulary and corrects its errors in English. In the reproduction of stories children readily learn to forget self and speak fluently, acquiring almost impercepti- bly an ease in expressing thought. I have this story from a oh/ the children in her class "with one acGord" refused to learn the use almost ï»¿constantly* She tried the experiment of having the class reprodtice for several mornings the story of the "Greedy eat." You know this story has a repetition of the expve 1 sion "I have eaten." I have eaten my friend the parrot} I have eaten an old woman, and an old man; I have eaten a man and his donkey, etc*, and I will eat you* She states that this little nonsense tale helped effectively in eradicating this error in English, and fixing the expression "eat you" instead of *e-chu". If the lesson in history, geography, nature, lan~ guage arid even spelling were made not lessons but siiaplystories to be reproduced, they would be learned much more readily* There are no four woyds of greater use to the teacher in all grades then "once upon a time"* To illustrate the fundamental aim of the story hour I wish to tell you the story "the Knights of the Silver shield" and ask that you try its effect on any class from the third grade even through the high school.