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Tellitmyway: the oral tradition meets Reddit

If you are looking for an authentic strategy for inspiring student writing, and if you are interested in exploring a living, breathing example of the oral tradition in the digital age, give Tellimyway a try.

In fact, the new non-profit site that calls itself the world’s first simulation of oral storytelling in cyberspace invites storytellers to share their take on classic favorites,  submit their own stories or build on the stories of others with their own spin.

Readers may rate individual versions of stories and witness the evolution of  story chains.  The name of the first contributor of a tale is always shown with the story.  Stories are easily shared on Facebook and Twitter.

According to co-founder Jeremy Lindy, the site is designed to create conversation and allows intellectual freedom for storytellers to tell their twist on different stories.

Tellimyway is searchable by type of story–fairy/folktale, legend, mystery, riddle, tall tale–or by main idea–such themes as acceptance, courage, forgiveness, honesty, justice, kindness, perseverance, respect.  Visitors may also search by Where in the world the story comes from or browse through new, hot or top stories on the home page.  Stories are listed with their read-times.

All of this makes Tellimyway a handy source for multicultural and thematic storytelling in the classroom and library.

Co-founder Elaine Lindy explains the origins of TellitMyWay:

My daughter Ariel was a rambunctious child, sometimes difficult to reach.  Yet she listened hungrily to stories.  I realized if I conveyed the kind of messages I wanted her to hear through a story, she would listen and absorb its message.  So I started searching for quality stories she would enjoy — fairy tales and folktales — and tested them with groups of youngsters, asking them, which story did you like best?  Why?  What were your top three choices? What would have made it a better story?  
Eventually over 100 stories were amassed, the world’s first kid-tested, kid-approved collection of fairytales and folktales with positive messages.  These tales are now available on Whootie Owl’s Stories to Grow By.  Yet each story required considerable time to refine.  Many parts of the world aren’t represented.  The process was too labor-intensive and limited.  I realized I needed a venue that would allow writers to contribute their work, so a far greater number of stories would be available.  This (and Reddit’s presentation style) led me to TellitMyWay.
In celebration of its upcoming pubic launch, on Valentine’s Day Tellimyway opens a Something New to Love contest, inviting writers and storytellers to contribute stories. Running from February 14 through March 14, the contest offers a $50 Amazon gift card prize for the highest-scoring original and the highest-scoring retold stories.
Students are invited to edit existing stories or submit original tales, as long as they follow the Tellimyway rules.
  • Don’t plagiarize. Only post original stories or retellings of stories on Tell it my Way.
  • Don’t spam.
  • Don’t try to manipulate votes or rankings.
  • Don’t post anyone’s personal information.
  • Don’t use this site for bullying or harassing anyone.
  • Do not write anything that is sexually suggestive. Keep it clean.

Teacher librarians and students could significantly add to the richness of this promising new portal. Share this with your ELA teachers and beyond.

How to add your voice to a story

Note: Whootie Owl’s Privacy Policy notes that the website is proud to be fully in compliance with The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

  • Personal information, such as e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, or other specific information, are never sold or given to third parties ever.
  • When you visit our web site and access information, you remain anonymous. We do not use cookies to track your surfing habits.
  • Activities involving the submission of e-mail addresses or home addresses must be accompanied by a parental consent form if the child is under 13 years old.

Students over 14 may submit stories on their own. Students 13 and younger may browse the site for stories.   Jeremy Lindy suggests that teachers wishing to submit the stories of younger students credit only the first name of the child author.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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