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Davis Journal

Kids tell tall tales at the Davis School District Storytelling Festival

Jan 30, 2023 02:52PM ● By Megan Gleason

Students perform during the Storytelling Festival held at Davis High in January. Winners will move on to the Weber State University Storytelling Festival held Feb. 27 – March 1. Photos by Megan Gleason

The art of storytelling is alive and thriving in Davis School District. On Jan 19, Davis County schools held their annual Storytelling Festival at Shoreline Junior High School. This year nine different elementary schools participated in the event, each school holding its competition prior, before sending the winners on to the district festival. A total of 22 students presented and performed their stories for the audience. 

“The Davis Storytelling Festival provides opportunities for student creativity and connection to the value of stories,” K-12 Library Supervisor, Selena Campbell said. The stories performed were each three – five minutes long and could be either an original creation, a true story, or a favorite book. Each student was encouraged to tell their story in the way they felt most comfortable with an emphasis on performance and vocal clarity. Preparations for the festival began in November 2022 and students had a little over two months to choose their story and begin practicing for it. 

Students didn’t have to prepare for this alone. Across the school district was a team of volunteer coaches to guide students in the art of storytelling consisting of teachers, librarians, parents, and staff members. 

“The Storytelling Festival is made possible by our coaches,” Campbell said. Before every reading, each student was asked to mention who their coach was and most added a special thanks to their introductions for their mentors. 

“I didn’t like stories in third grade,” Titan Moser, a fourth grader said, “but I do now.” 

Moser performed an original story titled “The Family Secret” which was about suddenly discovering that he and his family had superpowers. Moser said his favorite part about participating in the Storytelling Festival was “unlocking imagination.” 

“This also provides students to be a part of a unique extracurricular program,” said Campbell. “Youth storytellers are taught that true storytelling does not equate to recitation, but that engaging the audience in the story is a vital part of the experience.”  

“Fat and Thin,” performed by Jackson Dibb, a third grader, was a retelling of a story his grandfather told him and had many in the audience laughing along to the antics of the two main characters Fat and Thin. 

The two-hour event was not only a celebration of stories and the students who told them but also the final step before the chance to move on to perform at the Weber State University Storytelling Festival held Feb. 27 – March 1. Every year Weber State University partners with local school districts and provides a platform for youth storytellers to perform at the same level as professional tellers. Eight students from the Davis School District Storytelling Festival will be chosen based on their performance to move on to the university stage. Titan Moser said he had mixed emotions about the possibility of performing at the university festival. 

Whether participants move on to the university festival or not, the Davis School District Storytelling Festival was a celebration of stories and the art of storytelling.