Storyteller preaches love of reading

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

Quick: A big green monster with bad teeth is ploughing through your town. What do you do? Why, pick up the trash and join hands with your neighbors, of course!

So went the tale told Tuesday to children at Kingsbury Elementary School. Michael R. Kasoney-O'Malley, better known as Michael the Storyteller, visited Kingsbury and Whitwell Elementary School to share with kids his love of reading.

"The goal certainly is to entertain but I want to do more. I want the children to be excited about books, about reading," O'Malley said.

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While his tale of a giant, scary monster told of frightened townspeople and their fight to rid themselves of a growling green beast, O'Malley's yarn also had two lessons: the monster was vanquished when the townspeople learned to pick up their trash and keep the town clean, and when they all learned the value of teamwork.

The second message was not lost of first-grader Alison Dickess. "If you work together at problems, they go away," Dickess said.

O'Malley, who was once an elementary school teacher himself, emphasized to budding storytellers in the audience a point that their own teachers make regularly, that education is the surest way to see your dreams realized.

"If you want to be a storyteller," he said. "You've got to read, read read."