Lynette FordStorytelling & Spoken Word
Fourth-generation storyteller Lynette (Lyn) Ford is a teaching artist with the Ohio Teaching Artists Roster and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, a Thurber House mentor to young writers, a storytelling and story-writing coach, a certified laughter yoga teacher, and a great-grandma. Lyn has also offered storytelling/story-writing residencies for the Ohio Arts Council’s Creative Aging Ohio Initiative.
For more than 30 years, Lyn has provided stories for libraries and schools, keynote and closing presentations, workshops at universities, education and literacy conferences, and featured programs at some of the most prestigious storytelling conferences and festivals in the United States, Australia, and Ireland. Lyn’s work has now expanded to online videos and Zoom sessions for library and classroom presentations in grades PreK-12 and family night Zoom gatherings, with enrichment information to guide reflection and discussion before and after watching videos. Lyn has also shared stories and tips for telling for the 2021 sessions for Achud Macht Neu in Berlin, Germany, and been included in their publication, Our 2030 Stories From the Future”.
Lyn is the author of two story collections from her family’s heritage of tales. Both books, Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian Tradition and Beyond the Briar Patch: Affrilachian Folktales, Food and Folklore, won the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. Lyn’s other published works include: Hot Wind Boiling Rain: Scary Stories for Strong Hearts, a collection of fiction and a creative-writing resource for older students through adults; Boo-Tickle Tales: Not-So-Scary Stories for Ages 4-9, written with friend and fellow storyteller Sherry Norfolk; several educational collaborations with Sherry, including Storytelling Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Children with Special Needs and Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story: Authentic Folktales and Discussion Guides, published in 2020 by ABC-CLIO. Lyn and Sherry’s most recent compilations of narratives from national and international storytellers is Speak Peace: Words of Wisdom, Work and Wonder, which was published for the 2020 International Day of Peace.
Lyn’s work is also in story anthologies and resources for educators, including: the award-winning The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum and Literacy in the Storytelling Classroom (both from Libraries Unlimited); Sayin’ Somethin’: Stories from the National Association of Black Storytellers (National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc.); The August House Book of Scary Stories (August House) and its accompanying educators’ enrichment guide, and Storytelling and QAR Strategies (Libraries Unlimited). Lyn’s poetry is included in the collections I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing and Women Speak: Volume 8.
Lyn’s awards include two National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Awards, the first for leadership and service, and the second the prestigious Circle of Excellence Award.
Lyn is a keeper of the centuries-old tradition of storytelling. As such, she is also a model for and nurturer of new voices, encouraging the basic skills of oral communication and connecting them to the development of literary formats, effective for social behaviors and family history. Lyn was drawn to sharing these skills by seeing their impact on her preschool students many years ago and discovering their need in contemporary life for story participants of all ages. Lyn feels honored that this work is recognized by her inclusion in the National Association of Black Storytellers’ Brother Blue Circle of Elders and the National Writers Project National Writers Council.
Some of Lyn’s programs are: “Let’s Throw Stories” – Folktales rooted in West African and Black American folktales; “Rabbit Tales Retold” – folktales of the trickster hero Rabbit; “Turtleshell Tales” – folktales of the trickster hero Tortoise or Turtle; “Affrilachian Tales” – folktales and family stories rooted in Lyn’s Black Appalachian heritage; “Spookers & Haints” – from silly, spooky stories to thought-provoking creepy tales appropriately adapted for grade/skill levels. Writing workshop sessions are available for each program title.
In an educational setting, Lyn sees the role of a teaching artist as: being a model of growth mindset and creative approaches to engaging students in their own learning processes; encouraging knowledge retention and critical and creative thinking for many styles of learning; offering ways to nurture self-monitoring and effective social skills in the classroom through aspects of her artistic presentations, and supporting educators’ and other mentors’ work and curricular design for academic and artistic standards of learning.
Grade Levels/Age Groups
- Grades 1-3
- Grades 4-5
- Grades 6-8
- Grades 9-12
- Young Adults
- Older Adults
Facilities and Resources Required
- Audio System
- Electrical Outlets
- Tables or Desks
- Performance Space
- Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
- Greater Columbus Arts Council
- Thurber House: Summer Writing Camps and Writing Wizards and Pen & Tell It!
- Columbus Metropolitan Library
- Upper Arlington Public Library
- National Association of Black Storytellers
- National Storytelling Network
- Transformative Language Arts Network
- The International Storytelling Center
- Sydney (Australia) International Storytelling Conference
- Cape Clear (Ireland) International Storytelling Festival
Upon request, but please book early
Video courtesy of the artist