Smelly Pirates and Songs Stimulate Student Minds

Whitesburg P-8 played host for award-winning songwriter, storyteller, and entertainer Michael Reno Harrell in a performance for Whitesburg students.  Mr. Harrell played guitar while singing songs about friendship and ‘smelly’ pirates, and shared entertaining tales of his adventures as a third-grade student.  Students laughed and sang along, with a few lucky participants being invited to perform in a brief ad-lib skit in front of their peers.

The performance provided a way to educate, as well as entertain.  Dr. Brad Scott, principal at Whitesburg P-8, explained that this method of oral storytelling bridges the gap between the written and spoken word, often sparking new interest in reading for his students.  Scott said that the students “interact with a text, visualize the characters, hear their voices,” and walk away with a greater appreciation for books and literature.

Mr. Harrell, who has performed his diverse and adaptable form of wit for years, says he enjoys bringing the time-honored tradition of vocal storytelling to young students because “storytelling is in our DNA.”  He goes on to say that his favorite part of performances like this is getting to see our society’s future through the students, and “seeing how much promise there is in the world.” 

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