In the spring of 2007, the four elementary school librarians received a grant from the San Marcos Education Foundation for a project to promote literacy and enhance the students’ aural (sense of hearing) and verbal language skills through a year-long storytelling program. In addition to lessons throughout the year in each of the libraries, funds were used to bring in storytellers from around the country-one for each grade level. These storytellers included Joy Hayes, Toni Simmons, Bernadette Nason, Carl Anderson, and The Storybook Theater troupe from San Antonio. The final visitor for the school year was author and storyteller, Helen Ketteman. Ketteman, a former Texan who now lives in Florida, is the author of 17 children’s books, with three more on the way. Some are touching tales of parents and children. Her latest is Waynetta and the Cornstalk.
During her two day stay in San Marcos on April 14 and 15, Ketteman spoke to all of the students in the SMCISD elementary schools. Not only were the students entertained by the books she read, but also by her talk about the writing process. She impressed them with the fact that it took almost four years of failed attempts before her first book was accepted for publication, and she showed the students marked-up slides of her writing and re-writing efforts. The author showed them an example of a story she had rewritten 49 times before the final product was finished. Ketteman encouraged the students to “keep trying if you want to be good at something.”
“Her visit was a delightful finale-enriching teachers, students, and all of the elementary libraries,” said Jan Rudnicki, Travis Elementary Librarian.
By LINDA CONTRERAS
Communications Assistant SMCISD
Photo by Linda Contreras