Story Arts Institute

Exploring the Power of Storytelling

Director: Heather Forest, Ph.D.

Story Arts Institute now offers professional development workshops in narrative communication skills for a wide range of practitioners who use storytelling methods in their work.

Parents and Grandparents
Organizational Leaders
Medical Practitioners
Ethics Educators

For further information contact:
Story Arts, PO Box 354
Huntington, NY 11743
631-271-2511 ♦ heather@storyarts.org

The Story Arts Institute project is made possible with funds from the JP Morgan Chase Regrant Program. In Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the JPMorgan Chase Regrant is administered by the Huntington Arts Council.

Story Arts Institute Workshops
by Heather Forest & Guest Artists

Story Arts Institute customizes on-site professional development workshops to suit diverse audiences, formal to informal settings, and time frames from one hour to extended workshop seminars.


Storytelling Connections: Speaking, Listening and Literacy

Exploring the dynamic language arts interconnections between speaking, listening, and literacy, this interactive workshop encourages the use of oral storytelling in the classroom to enhance and develop both teachers’ and students’ narrative skill. Workshop activities offer experiential insights into how storytellers use metaphor, descriptive language, facial expression, body language, and evocative gesture to create powerful images in the minds of their listeners. Filled with stories, this workshop encourages teachers and child caregivers to explore their own innate storytelling abilities, to integrate storytelling into the curriculum, and to stimulate narrative expression in children.

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Narrating the Natural World: A Storytelling Skills Workshop for Nature Interpreters

Stories about the natural world can captivate listeners, inspire observation, wonder, curiosity, and can spark desire to preserve and protect the environment! This professional development workshop for naturalists aims to enhance participants’ narrative competency in conveying information about the natural world. Through demonstration, discussion and playful verbal/physical activities, participants will hone basic storytelling skills and will learn how to successfully develop and share tales that celebrate and illuminate the natural world.

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The Magic of Words: A Storytelling Skills Workshop for Librarians

This interactive storytelling workshop for librarians offers insights into the art of book inspired storytelling for both younger and older listeners. Participants will explore the basic tools of storytelling: voice, body, imagination and metaphor. Through demonstration, discussion, and playful improvisation, participants will explore a range of storytelling methods, story composition, character expressiveness, and inventive ways to liberate spontaneous, evocative, descriptive speech. We will examine practical methods to sequence, remember, and engagingly share a story. Bringing literature to life, oral storytelling skills will also be applied to reading-out loud.

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Parents and Grandparents

Family Treasures: A Storytelling Workshop for Parents, Grandparents and Oral Historians

One of the time-honored joys of family life can be found in the special moments when family stories and traditions are passed on to the younger generation.  In this interactive workshop we will explore imaginative ways to rekindle memories and to rediscover family history worth passing on.  Family stories are invisible treasures more valuable than heirlooms held in the hand.  Family stories are held in the heart.

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Storytelling in the Courtroom: A Narrative Skills Workshop for Lawyers

This interactive workshop is designed to help attorneys gain skill and confidence in utilizing oral storytelling skills in the courtroom to effectively present their client’s story in diverse formats throughout the presentation of a case. Through discussion, demonstration and improvisational activities, workshop participants will examine ways to “illuminate” a sequence of events, present a holistic context, design convincing metaphors, and liberate spontaneous, descriptive speech. In order to develop narrative competency, participants will explore the basic tools of the storyteller: evocative words, sound, facial expression, body language, and gesture. Strengthening memory and imagination, participants will learn practical ways to efficiently sequence the details of a story from many points of view and how utilizing carefully chosen words and intentional story composition can impact a narrative’s meaning. 

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Organizational Leaders

Once Upon a Mission: A Storytelling Workshop for Administrators, Public Advocates & Not-for-Profit Fundraisers

Storytelling is a powerful way to communicate ideas and to generate support for new vision and direction. In a wide range of settings, storytelling can stimulate inventive thinking, clarify values, motivate generosity and inspire action. This interactive workshop is designed to help participants develop the narrative skills needed for effective advocacy and the insight to identify key types of poignant tales that can be used to support innovative change. Through discussion, demonstration and improvisational activities, participants will explore basic storytelling skills, practical ways to remember, sequence, and bring a story to life, and how to use narrative and metaphor to concisely and concretely convey a message. 

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Medical Practitioners

Story as Medicine: A Storytelling Workshop for Clinical Practitioners

This workshop for medical practitioners is designed to build practical, interpersonal communication skills in clinical settings. Its content focuses on building skills in storytelling and listening. These core competencies can enhance patient assessment and history-taking, relationship building, patient instruction, counseling and negotiation techniques, comfort care, and multi-cultural understanding. 

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Ethics Educators

A Word to the Wise: A Workshop on Stories in Character Education

Stories, proverbs and parables have been used through the centuries around the world to pass on cultural history, values, and spiritual understandings. This workshop for ethics educators or clergy focuses on the use of stories to embody ethical ideas. It offers training in communication tools of the teller: words, body, facial expression and gesture and advice on finding and utilizing narrative and metaphor to make a point.

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The Inside Story: Exploring Imagination and Creative Process through Storytelling

This workshop is useful for those engaged in inventive or investigatory endeavors and encourages participants to identify and trust their creative instincts. Using the improvisational art of storytelling, participants will examine their ways of making, choosing and designing in order to develop confidence in their unique creative process.

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The Voice as an Instrument: Rhythm, Pattern and Musicality in Storytelling
Through playful improvisation and demonstration, workshop participants will explore the natural rhythms of language, simple song making, and the creative potential of the voice as an instrument for speaking and singing. We will examine story composition, narrator/character relationships, and inventive ways to liberate spontaneous, descriptive speech and melody. This improvisation workshop does not require any prior musical training.

Storytelling Art & Technique
This workshop is designed to help the beginning or burgeoning storyteller discover the uniqueness of his or her voice, body, and imagination as instruments of storytelling.  It is an overview of storytelling as an art form interweaving demonstration and participant exploration of verbal improvisation, imagination exercises, and body awareness work.


Heather Forest has designed and facilitated professional development workshops for a wide variety of sponsors including:

International Storytelling Center, TN
Early Years Institute, Long Island, NY
Hofstra University Literature and Imagination Conference, NY
Bronx Public Defenders, NY
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, PA
Eastern Suffolk County Library Media Specialists, NY
Great Neck Library, NY
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Shelter Rock, NY
College of New Rochelle School of Nursing, NY
Miami Medical School, FL
Seatuck Environmental Association, Islip, NY
Children’s Music Network, NY
National Storytelling Network, TN
New Haven Schools, CT
Southern Connecticut State University, CT
Suffolk Association for Jewish Educational Services, NY
Long Island Association of Professional Fundraisers, NY
New England Library Association, MA
Northeast ES, Brentwood, NY
Hampton Bays School District, NY
PS 149, Brooklyn, NY
Computer Associates Pre-School Educators, NY
Port Washington Pre-Schools, NY
Harbor Day Care Pre-School Teachers, NY
Infant Toddler Conference, Long Island, NY
Long Island Nature Collaborative for Kids, NY
Parent Child Home Program Conference, Long Island, NY
Literacy and Learning Conference, Long Island, NY
Salt Lake County Library System, Utah
Sharing the Fire: Northeast Storytelling Conference, RI
Disney Imagineers, FL

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“What a great staff development workshop you presented!  . . . as a result of this workshop, our teachers have improved their language arts instruction. The techniques were put to use immediately and have invigorated the delivery of the curriculum”

-Pre-Kindergarten Director, Port Washington Schools

“Thank you for the storytelling workshop Communication through Storytelling that you presented at the Great Neck Library for our Staff Development Day
 . . .Your message that spoken words are powerful, that listening is important and that clear communication, discussion and tact are important skills in negotiation and peacemaking was well understood and fun at the same time! You were able to engage an adult audience that included clerks, managers and adult reference librarians as well as children’s librarians in your workshop. That is quite a testament to your presentation and performance skills.”

-Interim Director, Great Neck Library

“After five years of quarterly meetings and a range of national and state speakers, I have never seen the group of 50 child and family experts so captivated . . . Your practical message about the importance of storytelling and enlightening exercises about how groups can hone in on the most important aspects of their work was tremendously helpful to all . . ..You practiced what you preached by using imagination and being the change leader that you asked them to become . . .Thank you again for your time and for empowering our Advisory Committee to be more creative and effective in their work.”

-Executive Director, Early Years Institute, NY

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About the Presenter

Heather  ForestHeather Forest, Ph.D. is a storyteller, author, consultant, and founder and executive director of Story Arts Inc., a Long Island-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art of storytelling and its educational applications. Her folktale books and recordings have won numerous awards including the American Library Association’s Notable Recording Award and several Parents’ Choice Gold Awards. For the past thirty-five years, she has toured her performance repertoire of World Folktales for audiences of all ages to theatres, schools, conferences and major storytelling festivals throughout the United States and abroad. She has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival, Tennessee, the Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Smithsonian Institute, Wash. D.C., the Sidmouth International Folk Festival, England, and the Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival, New Zealand.

Dr. Forest holds a Master’s Degree in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University and a Ph.D. In Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She is a recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award presented by the National Storytelling Network. For a full vita click here or browse to: http://www.heatherforest.com/vita

For further information contact:

Heather Forest, Ph.D.
Story Arts Inc.
PO Box 354
Huntington, NY 11743

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