Kudos for Crooked Door Storytelling

"Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us and share your talents and profession with us. Your stories were both intriguing and inspiring." Sophomore Class of 2017, The Latin School of Chicago

"Your stories were mesmerizing and the students were truly captivated. Storytelling is truly an art many students do not encounter frequently. Each tale added greatly to our cultural understandings." Liz Raser, Morgan Park Academy, 2nd grade teacher, Curriculum Leader, Elementary Division

"Your Kamishibai presentation was delightful and the feedback from those who attended both of your sessions has been overwhelmingly positive. You inspired some to try telling storytelling and many commented how much they enjoyed learning about Kamishibai." JoAnn Dent, Co-chair & Founder, Sheboygan Children's Book Festival; Librarian; Literacy Professional

"Thank you for all the wonderful stories you tell us every time we go to class. Thanks for being here with us." Eighth grade student from "Art and Elements of Storytelling" in-school workshop 

"The children were so enthralled and involved in Mrs. Waller's storytelling. After the fairy tales, the students were able to make many text-to-text connections to their fairy tale study." Louise Larsen, grade 3 teacher, Northside Catholic Academy, Chicago, on "Once and Long Ago Stories"

"Genevieve breathed life into the stories she told my students. It changed the whole direction of the class for the better. The students were more interested, more engaged and more excited about the genre we were working on after listening to Genevieve weave her magic." Peggy Rios, Chicago Public Schools primary-grade teacher, on "Scary Stories"


For more information, or to arrange a storytelling program affordably tailored to your needs, contact:

Genevieve K. Waller at 773.330.8086 or gkswaller@crookeddoorstorytelling.com

Why stories? (Here's why)

Every culture and people use stories: to entertain, to persuade, to celebrate, to inform, to teach, to remember. Oral storytelling helps build communities, whether at home, school, in a neighborhood or in the workplace. I thoroughly explain the art and craft of what I do in this 2016 article that appeared in Voiced, an online journal published by under the auspices of the Teaching Artists Development Studio at Columbia College Chicago.

Contact Crooked Door Storytelling for further information about presentations, customized academic or workplace programs, and rates, or to discuss scheduling a free demonstration visit to a school, community center or company. 

For Schools and Organizations

As a teaching artist, I collaborate with educators and arts providers to develop customized presentations and workshops that innovatively support classroom curricula and national, state and local learning standards for grade levels preK-12. Please note: I possess a CPS Vendor number and in 2014 was approved to be an in-school Arts Service  provider as part of the CPS Arts Plan that aims to bring arts instruction to all of the city's public school students, grades pre-K through 12, by 2015.

Current program themes include: 

  • Tales through Time: Fables, Tricksters, Myths and Fairy Tales
  • Global Connections: Celebrating the World's Cultures and People
  • Kamishibai (kah-mee-shee-bye) Theater: The Art of Japan's "Paper Stories" 
  • The World Goes Round: Connecting Subjects through Story (History, Nature, Science, Math)
  • Reason to Celebrate: Holidays and Special Times

For Presentations, I create my own stories as well as extensively research stories from myriad cultures and traditions to put them into my own voice. I then commit each story to memory and deliver them in a unique way, sparking students' interest (even those who are not dedicated readers) and innovatively connecting them to literacy and classroom curricula. My Workshops creatively foster students' communication and literacy skills, support classroom curricula and address current learning standards. Short-term Workshop Sessions range between 1-3 sessions and include a storytelling presentation, student story development and student telling. Long-term Workshop Residencies last between 10-12 weeks and explore stories and storytelling in-depth. Find additional workshop program details below.

Storytelling Adventures (Ages 0-5)

General description: To help foster early childhood literacy enrichment, this program consists of a 30-minute session of storytelling, storyreading and simple craft. The sessions draw on well-known traditional fairy tales, folk tales and fables as well as those from a variety of cultures and traditions in hopes of appealing to and celebrating diverse populations. This program includes simple songs and movement, as well as craft activities, to complement the stories.

Weekly visits (Primary grade levels)

General description: Regularly-scheduled classroom visits last 45-60 minutes and are closely coordinated with the instructor to complement curriculum and study units. Examples and units addressed include: Once and Long Ago for Fairy Tales; The First Peoples Speak for Native American tribes; Heroes, Real and Imagined for American Lore; How Many? for Math; Earth, Wind, Fire (and Water), Beetles Bugs and Butterflies and Where on Earth? for Nature and Science.

Themed visits (Gr. 1-12)

General description: These 45-60 minute visits to the classroom are less frequent, but also coordinated with an instructor to coincide with a study unit or, more typically, a celebration or holiday such as Halloween Scary Stories, Winter Holidays Tales to Warm the Winter, St. Patrick’s Day Luck, Lore, Fenians and Fairies and others.

Workshops (Gr. 4-12)

General description: Workshops serve older primary students and middle schoolers (grades 4-8). Students not only listen to storytelling but also learn storytelling themselves. Students work throughout an academic trimester in a weekly offering to develop and tell their own stories, and may opt to hold a Storytelling Festival for the school and community at the workshop’s conclusion.

"Paper Drama": The art and practice of kamishibai

General description: Kamishibai is an ages-old Japanese art form that combines illustrated picture boards and oral storytelling to convey traditional tales, myths and fables. After studying and hearing kamishibai stories, students begin to learn and illustrate a kamishibai story of their own, selected with the instructor’s help from an array of Asian folk tales. The goal is that each student will share his or her “paper drama” with the class by the end of the session. 

"I Have a Story for You" Storytelling Workshop: The Elements and Art of Oral Storytelling

General description: This class engages the students in telling and listening to stories for pure enjoyment, and also fosters their abilities to express themselves clearly, confidently and creatively – key skills in this intense Information Age. Through exercises that build oral storytelling skills, students start learning how to tell stories and present them to a wider audience typically by preparing a Storytelling Festival for the school community to attend.

For Teachers, Program Instructors and Education Administrators

General description: These customized workshops enable teachers, program leaders and education administrators  to strengthen their abilities to express themselves clearly, confidently and creatively – key skills in this intense Information Age. Participants not only hear stories to appreciate the vital role listeners play in oral communication; they also learn and develop their own unique storytelling abilities. The workshops help participants hone their storytelling skills, as well as provide various exercises that they can share with classroom and program participants; these exercises help improve imagination and creativity and both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.


Story Strategies in Higher Education and for Working Professionals

Clear, concise and powerful communications are not only valuable in K-12 education. Communication strategies that affect change and build relationships are more crucial than ever in today’s colleges, universities and workplaces. An expanding body of research supports the value of storytelling as a key mode of communication in higher education and the workplace. Studies continue to reveal that stories are often more effective than statistics and generalized information at:

  • connecting individuals and groups to shared goals and campaigns
  • clarifying and improving educational and business experiences
  • engaging students and professionals to work more effectively together 

The stories that individuals tell about their experiences in post-secondary educational environments and in workplaces establish tone, vision and direction. These stories also help define and distinguish the unique role and experiences a school or workplace offers to society, clients, potential partners and additional contacts.

General description: Crooked Door Storytelling helps students, teachers and administrators in higher education and working professionals look inward and explore their experiences, moments and values so that the stories they tell stand out to their audiences. Using various exercises and strategies, the workshop helps participants develop, clarify and share narratives that will dynamically strengthen their internal and external communication via:

  • Writing/Editing
  • Interviews
  • Oral presentations
  • Short-form video storytelling
  • Collaborative internal communication


For more information, or to arrange a storytelling program or workshop affordably tailored to your needs contact:

Genevieve K. Waller at 773.330.8086 or gkswaller@crookeddoorstorytelling.com