School Application

To bring your school to the Cracker Storytelling Festival, please fill out the following form and send it to Terrie Sullivan at [email protected].

Click to download the School Application Form and Information Letter

Know Before You Go

Preparing Students Before the Trip

Before you come:

Teachers, please read this to your students.

At the Festival today, we’re going to participate in storytelling performance by many different types of storytellers. “Participate” means that you’ll be part of the program—as good listeners, using your imagination to “see” the characters, setting, and action. Sometimes, you may be invited to use your brains, voice, and hands to help bring a story to life. Storytelling is the most fun when the storyteller and the listeners work together to create the story—so let’s make this a fun experience for everyone!

Ask students to listen carefully to the story so that afterwards they can answer simple, factual, non-subjective questions such as who, what, where, or when.

  • What are the parts of a story? (characters, setting, problem solution, beginning, middle, end)

  • What do you use when you listen to a story? (ears, eyes, brain, imagination)

  • As you listen, use your imagination to make a “movie” of the story in your mind. Will all of you have the same movie? Why or why not?

  • As you listen to the stories today, listen and watch to see if you can find patterns in the words or the actions. Why are patterns important in the stories?

  • Try to predict what’s going to happen next in the stories, but don’t yell it out! Just listen and think and see if you’re right!

Discuss the purpose of the field trip and tell your students that they will be learning about the history of their county in the 1800’s through some of the stories they will hear. Talk about the cattle industry in Polk County and explain what the term “Cracker” means. Ask the students if they see cows anywhere near their homes and if they know how important the use of the horse was in the early history of Polk County.

Click to download the 2019 Study Guide

Youthful Voices

Youthful Voices Storytelling at Cracker Storytelling Festival

December 4, 5 & 6th 2019 -  Wednesday - Friday

Welcome Youthful Tellers!  We are so glad you are here.  Since the beginning of time the art of storytelling has been celebrated and handed down from generation to generation, and you are the future of that tradition!

The Youthful Teller Program always has been an important part of the Cracker Storytelling Festival, but as the festival has grown, the program has changed.  We can no longer accommodate every child who wants to tell a story.  Instead schools are encouraged to send their 5 best Youthful Tellers in grades K – 12 to represent them at the festival.  Each Youthful Teller will be assigned a slot with a professional storyteller and will have an opportunity to take the stage for the last 5 minutes of that slot.  In exchange for performing, each Youthful Teller will receive a certificate of participation, a ribbon and free admission to the festival.

Please Note: This is strictly a forum for oral storytelling. It is not a forum for creative dramatics or readings, improvisation or open mike. Youthful tellers should have prior training in the art of storytelling and public performance. Polk County teachers looking for resources on teaching storytelling may consult the Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival Online Coaching Manual for tips and a suggested curriculum. The manual can be downloaded from their website at  Many professional storytellers are willing to visit schools and work with students during or after school hours.  Contact or your public library’s Youth Services librarian for teller suggestions.

In order to participate, Youthful Tellers must meet the following 3 criteria:

1.  Names must be submitted by a teacher or home schooling parent.

2.  Stories must be rehearsed and performed a minimum of 3 times before a group before performing at our festival.  No extemporaneous storytelling.

3. Stories should be between 3 and 5 minutes in length.

The following entry form for each participating Youthful Teller must be completed and received by Nov. 1st.  Entry forms should be sent to Melissa Causey c/o the Bartow Public Library, 2150 S. Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL 33830 or scanned and emailed to [email protected].  Once they are received, we will schedule your students and inform you where and when they will be performing on the day of your visit. 

Youthful Voices Committee/Cracker Storytelling Festival

Name *