Lynette (Lyn) Ford shares “Home-Fried Tales,” adaptations of folktales “from many places and many faces,” as well as her own original stories and personal narratives. Lyn’s rhythmic, interactive storytelling style encourages language and literacy skills, creative writing, and an appreciation for the oral tradition among all types of learners. Lyn’s storytelling is rooted in her family’s multicultural Affrilachian oral traditions, her research and interest in heritage and folklore, and her own love of stories.
Lyn’s work has been publicized on the PTO Today web site, and in Columbus Monthly and Columbus Parents magazines. Lyn has written for Storytelling Magazine, a national publication; her work is also included in story anthologies and resources for educators, including: the award winning The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum, Literacy in the Storytelling Classroom (both from Libraries Unlimited), and Social Studies in the Storytelling Classroom (Parkhurst Brothers, Inc.); Sayin’ Somethin’: Stories from the National Association of Black Storytellers (National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc.); The August House Book of Scary Stories (August House), and its accompanying enrichment guide for teachers, and the 2011 publication Storytelling and QAR Strategies (Libraries Unlimited). Lyn’s CD, When the Gourd Broke, won a 2009 NAPPA Honors Award.
Lyn is also a Thurber House mentor to young writers. In 2012, Lyn was among the first 30 teaching artists from across the country to participate in professional-development sessions on the arts and Common Core State Standards at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Lyn’s participation as an Ohio Teaching Artist in The Ohio State-Based Collaborative Initiative of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has provided additional opportunities for Lyn to share professional development workshops for educators and other mentors, in interactive sessions pertinent to benchmarks of academic content standards and diverse ways of learning. Lyn makes connections between the oral tradition and core reading and writing skills, in conjunction with the 21st Century Learning Skills:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Creativity and imagination
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
In the summer of 2007, Lyn received an Oracle Award for Leadership and Service from the National Storytelling Network. Lyn received a 2008 Friend of Education Award from Reynoldsburg public schools, for her ongoing contribution of creative learning and enrichment experiences as Herbert Mills Elementary School’s storyteller in residence. In 2012, Lyn was inducted into the National Association of Black Storytellers’ Circle of Elders. In 2013, Lyn received the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence award, for her continuing efforts and achievements in storytelling. In 2016, Lyn was recognized by the National Storytelling Network’s Youth, Educators and Storytellers Alliance (YES) for her past work as co-chairperson, advisor, and special projects chairperson.
For more than 25 years, Lyn has provided stories for public libraries’ summer reading programs, keynote and closing presentations, and workshops at universities, education and literacy conferences, and storytelling conferences and festivals. Lyn has appeared at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and presented workshops for the National Storytelling Conference. Lyn has also been a storyteller-in-residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough. Lyn was named the winner of the Liars’ Contest (for tall tales, not lies!) at the 2005 National Association of Black Storytellers Conference and Festival; she has also shared stories and workshops at the TalkStory Festival in Hawaii, and at other national gatherings, including the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Orem, Utah, the Eugene (Oregon) Multicultural Festival, the Northlands Storytelling Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, the Cape Clear Storytelling Festival in Ireland (with a return visit in Fall 2018), and the 2018 Sydney International Storytelling Conference in Australia. Since 2016, Lyn has been a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator for the Transformative Language Arts Network’s (Goddard College) Power of Words Conference; Lyn has also offered writing sessions through the Transformative Language Arts Network’s online classes, and spoken/written word sessions through the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.
Lyn’s first publication as an individual author, 2012’s Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian Tradition, has received a 2013 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award, and a 2013 Storytelling World Resources Award. The book is a compilation of stories from Lyn’s childhood memories, enriched with information on Affrilachian culture, and published by Parkhurst Brothers, Inc. Lyn’s second collection of Affrilachian folktales and family folkways, Beyond the Briar Patch: Affrilachian Folktales, Food and Folklore, received the 2015 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. Both books, as well as Lyn’s collection of original, creepy twists on folk and fairytales, Hot Wind, Boiling Rain (which includes variants, resources, and creative writing exercises for older students and adults) are available from Parkhurst Brothers, Inc. through its website at http://www.parkhurstbrothers.com, Amazon.com, and other book merchants. 2017 saw the publication of a book co-authored with friend and fellow storyteller/teaching artist Sherry Norfolk: Boo-Tickle Tales: Not-So-Scary Stories for Ages 4-9, by Parkhurst Brothers. Lyn and Sherry are also proud of three recent or in-the-works publications: Storytelling Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Children with Special Needs (2017, ABC-CLIO); Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story: Authentic Folktales and Discussion Guides (2020, ABC-CLIO), and Speak Peace: Words of Wisdom, Work, and Wonder, from Parkhurst Brothers Publishing (Fall, 2019).
Lyn is currently a member/committee member of the following organizations: The Storytellers of Central Ohio and their community outreach committee, Columbus Story Adventures; The Ohio Storytelling Network; the Northlands Storytelling Network; The National Association of Black Storytellers; The National Storytelling Network, and the Transformative Language Arts Network (a partnership with Goddard College).
Lyn’s work has also branched out even further. Lyn is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, sharing pre- and post-test relaxation techniques, workshops, keynotes, and icebreakers that incorporate both story and laughter exercises. Lyn is also a member of the Writers Council of the National Writing Project, which is comprised of writers who “want to bring greater attention to the importance of writing and the work of NWP…Writers Council members share NWP’s belief that writing is vital to thinking, creating, communicating, and participating in the world.” (quoted from the NWP website).