Festival of Tales

Festival of Tales celebrates the power of literacy
      Fun, Food, Free Books

For four years, children have been coming to the Festival of Tales to investigate, sing songs, dance, make works of art, enjoy folklore, see storytellers and receive free books as they celebrate the power of literature.
Jalen Walker likes making crafts. However, best of all she loves going places with her whole family.

The Festival of Tales is fun because there is so much to do,” she says.

Walker is only one of hundreds of children who benefit from coming to the bi-annual literacy event held at Paradise Valley Community College on Dec. 1, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in and outside of the Kranitz Student Center.

Meggin Kirk, social sciences adjunct and PVCC storytelling instructor, has coordinated the expanding cultural festival for nine semesters. Her storytelling class works hard to make the busy day run smoothly: they carefully choose a tale, practice storytelling techniques for months, organize coordinating craft activities and staff the many hands-on animated tables.

“The Festival of Tales is a wonderful way for PVCC students to showcase what they are learning in their classes in a hands-on, authentic way,” Kirk says.

Other PVCC clubs also participate to bring life to the art of storytelling.

The Native American Student Association (NASA) has participated for two years. This December event will make their fifth time hosting a table making simple craft cornhusk dolls.

Lola Quiroz, NASA adviser, said that because this event is on a Saturday, NASA students and many from the Hoop of Learning program, consider it a convenient and perfect opportunity to volunteer.

“Using natural materials versus artificial materials to save the environment, we hope to stimulate creativity and curiosity,” says Quiroz.

Beth Weller, Southwest Human Development child development manager, is excited to attend again. Weller along with other teachers from Headstart also enjoy participating in the program.

“Interacting with the children is wonderful, but I love the family element the best because parents get to learn about the value of literacy,” says Weller.

“This year we are so excited to be partnering with a variety of community groups,” said Kirk.

The sponsors of the Festival include Southwest Human Development, First Things First, Reading is Fundamental, Macy’s, Club Ed, Maricopa County Community College District, and Paradise Valley Community College.

The Art of Storytelling classes, EDU 220 and 292 classes, PVCC clubs (Hands, NASA, Club Ed, Anime and Aware), PVCC’s Student Life and Leadership, Phoenix Libraries, PV Family Resource Center, McDonald’s, Kiwanis and Builders Club, ASU, NAU, Lakeshore Learning and AZ Science Center contribute funding for various supplies as well as volunteer to staff different folkloric learning activities.

“Everyone is especially grateful for the Family Reading Celebration grant from Macy’s,” says Charlotte Forte, Reading is Fundamental and Reach Out and Read program coordinator for Southwest Human Development in Phoenix.

For four years, children have been coming to the Festival of Tales to investigate, sing songs, dance, make works of art, enjoy folklore, see storytellers and receive free books as they celebrate the power of literature.

“Our goal this semester is to provide resources so the impact of the event can be seen and felt by participants, students and volunteers throughout the year,” says Kirk.

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