Click on the links below for more information…
About a Story Telling Session with Sally
- This may seem strange, but my work as a storyteller is more about listening! When I go into a setting, I work at listening and watching what the children are telling me, what they are interested in and what meaning they are making. I listen and reflect it back in a story and song. It's a bit like putting a frame around a picture, you don't change the picture , instead you give it status, importance and celebrate it. That's what I do with children's language. And they speak many languages; verbal, sign, body and sound. It's very exciting. The storyteller is always listening, always watching.
I bring a guitar, a box of simple percussion, a big blue spotty suitcase which is crammed with simple puppets and versatile cloths and scarves and a bag of my very own Story Sticks.
I work from repetoire taking my lead from the children's responses – some groups may respond better to story held in music, others through visual objects and things to hold and do, others want to watch and listen to words. I go with the flow.... the children lead and I adapt to their learning styles: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and very often a mixture!
So this work is about spontanaeity; working with the moment and in the moment. Practitioners enjoy observing this and they are reminded to try spontaneous story making and use some of my methods and ideas alongside the reading of stories which already happens so well.
I work with music and very simple props and puppets. It's about creating gaps so that the imagination can fill in the spaces - a blue cloth can be a billowing ocean, a sky, a storm or a picnic blanket ...... less is always more. Music adds an extra colour to our speech and communication - it's like offering a really exciting table of party food with many colours, tastes and textures! The children have such appetites for variety and trying out new things.
In a world where our language and communication is fragmented and increasingly mute - text messages, i pods and solo listening to pod casts, instant messaging, chat rooms etc - it is my joy to work with so much talk, sound, story and chatter in a variety of settings.
A FantaSTICK way to create stories.
Born out of years of storytelling with pre-school children, storyteller Sally Tonge has developed Story Sticks. More than rhythm makers, these sticks can capture visual and signed, playful and kinaesthetic language from children.The bright cotton bag contains 20 pairs of story sticks, ideal for circle time and group story making. Children observe each other and the facilitator and then the stories just grow!
Story sticks enable you to create genuinely child led stories which are rewarding and enriching for old and young.
The story sticks are made from beautifully machined and specially shaped wooden dowel finished in a wax oil tested to EN71 Safety Test suitable for use on children’s toys.
Sally delivers interactive workshops in schools, training sessions for educators in using these tools, and supplies sacks of story sticks.
Tricky Tales for Busy Hands
- A new approach to telling tales, using pens and paper, cutting and drawing. Sal has gathered stories that have a twist or a trick to them. An ideal workshop for kids who love to fiddle, show off and want some stories that they can remember for the rest of their lives to tell to their kids one day!
A week in the outdoor classroom.
- Sally delights in versatility and creative opportunities which come from responding to new settings and contexts. No space better lends itself to VERBAL ADVENTURING than an outdoor classroom or Forest school. Sal’s flexible approach embraces the invitation to lead story making and Imagineering workshops for whole primary schools in such spaces. She leads bold, fun and dynamic sessions.
- Sally is a part time mermaid, complete with a tail and a tale! She tells stories and sings songs of the waves and watery depths. She can swim into to any setting and offer an entertaining and colourful addition to Festivals and events in any setting !
Sal can appear in full mermaid costume as the Landlocked Mermaid with her mini-‘Merseum’ of relics and artefacts and mermaid inspired talking points. Designed to bring the mythological into any Seaside study topic or event, students can chat with the mermaid, share a sea shanty and even draw her portrait!
”We love Sally Tonge. She rocks!". Library audience member - Solihull Central Library
Early Years Settings
"Bathing children's ears in the music of language”
Specialising in working with very young children and their parents/carers, Sally has been Storyteller in Residence for the Pre- School Learning Alliance, Sure Start projects and Early Years Centres. She is a popular conference speaker and trainer in libraries, education and professional networks. She has produced CD’s and DVD’s of stories for young children and their parents for projects in Staffordshire, Liverpool and Dudley.
With her much- loved Chatterbox on wheels, stuffed with home- made story sacks, & songs even the youngest listeners can share in the shape, experience and flow of a story.
- Sally is a popular trainer working nationally to develop practitioners' skills in sharing stories, especially with the very young. Her courses generally last a whole day and are practical, fun and creative.
Attendees participate in some fun, gentle exercises to develop stories and approaches to word and language play. We explore storytelling and ways to bring stories alive, using music, objects and simple story sacks. We discuss and examine some of the practical considerations that can make or break storytime.Some feedback:
• "Really informative day. So many ideas to take away – especially the rhyme we invented. Well presented and everything explained very clearly. Please come back!"
• "Some very simple ideas that will have amazing outcomes for the children"
• "Really enjoyed the atmosphere in the group, felt very comfortable. Opinions were appreciated within the group."
• "Looking forward to getting back to work on Monday and trying it all out!"
• "I felt a bit nervous about today but Sally explained everything fully and I've had a very good day – lots of information to think about and things to have a go at."
• "Completely relevant and do-able! Using resources that don't cost the earth! Good fun.
• "Sally was fantastic, genuinely passionate about stories and so enthusiastic and helpful. I've been over to ABC nursery this morning and incorporated some of the things I learned yesterday which went very well and I felt more confident too". Michelle Duggins, Willenhall Library
• "I attended your story telling workshop in Oswestry yesterday and I would like to express how great I thought it was. I returned to work following the course and used what I learnt with my children in my class, we sat in the garden enjoying the last of the days beautiful weather and told stories and did finger rhymes, I even told the story of the little girl at Grandma’s house!!!" Selina Garbett
Shropshire Ghost StoriesNow in its third edition, this popular collection of retellings of local ghost stories is an entertaining read and hopefully a starting point for aspiring tellers of a ghostly yarn whether you are from Shropshire or not!
They are not only stories of ghosts but also encounters with the Devil, water sprits and magical creatures such as bogies, brownies and bad fairies.When Christmas, Halloween, parties and gatherings come around, even in our technologically aware culture, there is still the desire, need and occasion to tell stories especially spooky ones and this book could be just a volume to reach for.
Sally is available for Ghost story telling sessions (complete with musical accompaniment to make a full show) and author visits and workshops in schools and colleges.
Copies of the book are available from all bookshops, available for loan in Shropshire Libraries and signed copies can be purchased from the author ORDER FORM HERE or from The Stiperstones Inn.
Illustrated by Fran O'Boyle
Photography by Philip J Jones
Dark stories for winter nights
Shadowy tales for the long evenings.Traditional tales told by popular Shropshire based storyteller Sal Tonge. Expect some shiversome stories and a few chuckles as Sal dips into her rattle bag of twaddle and taradiddles to share some of the oral bric a brac which has come her way over her 25 year career. With the occasional song thrown in here and there to vary the pace , this will be a fun and chilling evening for audiences of 10 years and over. A great addition for a village shared supper!