Episode 153

How to Impart Life Lessons Through Educational Storytelling

I’m sitting in the living room at eight years old when my mom walks in and says, “Kymberlee, I have a surprise.” It’s not a holiday or my birthday, so there’s nothing particularly special about this night… yet.

So what’s the big surprise? “Tonight is going to be movie night.” 

Now there’s one particular well-loved book I read over and over again and keep on the nightstand by my bed so I recall all my favorite moments within its pages: Charlotte’s Web.

The TV comes on, and we start watching the movie version of Charlotte’s Web, in living color on the screen. And as with the book, I’m mesmerized seeing what I’ve imagined in my mind so many times come to life right in front of me. I can’t help but watch it over and over again, just like with reading the written version.

Why was I so obsessed with this story? Was it the narrative? The plot? The characters? The scenery? The messages? I’d say it’s all of the above.

My special guest today, Rene Rawls, lives in this world of educational storytelling herself as an author, screenwriter, and teacher. In this episode of the Storytelling School Podcast, you’ll learn about her proverb detective, how storytelling can provide a lot of good life lessons, and the power of telling stories about yourself and others that make you happy. You’ll also get answers to questions such as:

What’s one way you can increase a young child’s learning through stories? How does writing stories help you discover things about yourself? How can you and your kids better understand the lessons that proverbs can teach? And what’s one major difference between the same story written in book vs. screenplay form?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why you should thank the antagonists of your story, in fiction and real-life
  • How awareness of the story you tell yourself about yourself makes a difference
  • How backstory can change your perspective on life and those around you

Who is Rene Rawls?

Growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as the daughter of an elementary school librarian and a lawyer, Rene Rawls has evolved into becoming an educational storyteller who’s dedicated to inspiring tots, tweens, and teens to do the right thing through the content she creates. For years, she used her platform as a teacher to impart both academic and life lessons to her students throughout the USA. But when she became a writer, her classroom exponentially expanded to include kids all over the world!

Rene firmly believes that what children see in the media can be just as impactful as what they don’t see, especially if they don’t see themselves. So, she creates content for that unseen child. Not only has her work been celebrated by national and international audiences, but her stories have been acknowledged by the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Fred Rogers Productions Writers’ Neighborhood.

After writing Sule and the Case of the Tiny Sparks, Rene received the Mandela Day/Tribeca All Access Award, and the script was produced as an animated short film. In addition, her picture book, Sule and the Case of the Tied-up Lion, was selected as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Books of 2021, and it received the Kirkus star.

Rene’s passion for writing and teaching has led to her intentionally telling stories that capture those precious, magical moments of learning in awe-inspiring and fun ways. Her heart simply melts when she’s asked by kids to create more content.

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