Artists in Schools Directory


Kevin Cordi

Artist's Narrative

Kevin Cordi Internationally and nationally known storyteller and teacher Kevin Cordi invites you to discover how to use storytelling and story making to serve as proven educational tools for your students. Storytelling opens doors for students and teachers that many thought were closed. Kevin shows how everyone, regardless of age or ability, can learn with story. Each performance and/ or workshop is a reminder of story's power to motivate and inspire youth and adults. Kevin earned his doctorate in the study of storytelling and process drama from The Ohio State University. His new book, Playing with Stories: Story Crafting for Writers, Teachers, and Other Imaginative Thinkers, (2014) shows how writing and talking out loud can address and go beyond Common Core Standards. He has shared this work all over the country and most recently in the Middle East in Qatar. His work shows the value of spoken word play. He calls this work Word Dancing. If you have students who have trouble writing or speaking, this pedagogy will produce results. He emphasis deep listening and reflection.

His innovative approach to story teaching and performance is called "Ensemble Storytelling." Kevin is the co-author of the award-winning book Raising Voices: Youth Storytelling Groups and Troupes. He has traveled to over 40 states, England, Japan, Scotland, and Singapore. His story work has been commissioned by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Highlights for Children, The National Storytelling Festival and National Youth Storytelling Showcase. He earned the highest service award from The National Storytelling Network and other awards from the American Library Association, Anne Izard Storytelling Committee, and Storytelling World. He has performed and presented for the National Council Teachers of English, National Council of Social Studies, plus thousands of schools and thousands of children over the past 25 years. He understands the value of cooperative writing and telling stories. For the past five years he has served as the co-director for The Columbus Area Writing Project, and now teaches language arts methods, teaching pedagogy, and storytelling full time at Ohio Dominican University. He knows the heart of education because he is a teacher, but uses story as he travels around the world to help others to see how to, unlock the puzzle of learning with story.

His playful and skillful work helps students feel at ease as he directs students in reaching writing and storytelling success. His playful approach to learning called Permission 2 Play reminds students and teachers the value of playful and imaginative uses in inquiry-based learning.

He served as The Ohio State University's first Academic Storyteller-in-Residence, using stories to address issues of diversity, community, and equity. His popular ghost tale, The Jealous Bones of Aaron Kelly was recently published in The August House Book of Scary Stories. His video of Chicken in the Library won Storytelling Video of the Year!


An Ohio Channel interview with Kevin Cordi.


Upon request.
This artist is based in Columbus. Travel charges may apply for schools outside of the area.

Programs Available

NEW! The StoryBox Project (Grade levels 5-12)
Share your students’ stories by hosting and sending a StoryBox that will travel throughout the international/national community. Kevin started this world-wide program in 1995, and it is still continuing today. Imagine your school’s stories being read in China, Ireland, or even the Philippines. Best yet, the StoryBox can return to you one year later and you can celebrate the new stories.
Activity Options:
The StoryBox Project
  • Duration: 45-75 min.
  • Fees: $300/ $150 each addt'l, or $600 per day (includes combination of performances and workshops). Multi-day discounts available.
  • Requirements: 30 students max.

Storytelling Workshops (Grade Levels 5-12)
An eclectic range of workshops are available to help students learn the value of the writing process, the telling process, and even the stages of theater.  Students feel ownership of their work in these workshops. All workshops are aligned with standards of teaching writing, theater, narrative, and public speaking.

Options include:
(Please indicate preference on request form)

Writing and Telling: From the Page to the Stage and Back Again
Learn the tools of writing with a teller's lens of seeing.  "Seeing the story" will be discussed with sure-fire strategies that help students move through the writing and telling process. Kevin is an award-winning published author and teller who also serves as the Co-Director for the Columbus Writing Project with the National Writing Project.  In this program he will model, demonstrate, and talk about voice in relation to writing and telling. 

Dramatic Play and Story Sharing
Kevin has had unique training in inquiry methods using dramatic exploration. Drawing on the work of Dorothy Heatchcote and Cecily O'Neill, along with his advisor, Dr. Brian Edmiston, author of Imagine to Learn, he will demonstrate proven models of learning using a process known as "dramatic inquiry." This workshop is based on his PhD work in narrative storytelling and dramatic inquiry at The Ohio State University.

Storyteller/ Author Days
A storytelling visit and author signing can be scheduled for a half day or a full day.  This is one of the best ways to bring Kevin's work to you. On these days he can spend more time talking about tools and process, as well as performing for schools. 

Ensemble Story Teaching  (this can be geared for working with kids and as an in-service for adults)
Designed by Kevin Cordi as a tool for those who work closely with youth, Ensemble Story Teaching is both a unique and effective method to teach standards-based curriculum. As an inquiry based approach, ES borrows from educational drama or process drama and narrative (story) inquiry to engage learners through story. Students help design and enter the world of the curriculum by using dramatic conventions and narrative to construct meaning. Kevin’s approach is rooted in his 20 years experience and scholarship both as a classroom teacher, storyteller and college instructor.

Activity Options:
  • Duration: 45-75 min.
  • Fees: $300/ $150 each addt'l, or $600 per day (includes combination of performances and workshops). Multi-day discounts available.
  • Requirements: 30 students max.

Performance/ Assembly (Grade levels K-12)
Kids and young adults are included in this high-energy performance. Each story is tailored for the audience. A wide range of storytelling programs is available, and each performance can be made to suit the needs of the school.

Options include:
(Please indicate preference on request form)

It is OK to be Me (Grades 4 - 8)
These stories are designed to help students feel good about who they are. This is a critical time when students feel pressure to be someone else; these stories remind us in a fun, educational way that "It is OK to be Me."

Storytelling Safari (PreK - Adult)
Hold on to your seats as we travel and explore the folk and fairy tales of the world. In a few minutes' time our journey will take us to Africa, Ireland, and possibly China.  Make sure you fasten your seatbelts, the trip will be fantastic!

Stories for a Better World (PreK - Adult)
These stories embrace the idea that stories can help heal and promote a better world.  In a world where students face problems everyday, it is vital that students experience stories that demonstrate that the world can be better than what it is.

Let Us Celebrate the Earth Together! (PreK - Adult)
These stories demonstrate ways we can act to protect the earth. The stories concentrate on how caring for the Earth is one way we care about our world. A local effort can have resonating effects on our planet.

Step Back in Time: History Tales for You (Grades 4 - Adult)
These stories take us back in time when we can see what it was like riding in an Orphan Train, or talking with a soldier from the Civil War.  Kevin may share his tales of meeting a Navajo Code Talker, or a verteran who spent three months in Hiroshima after the war.  Step back and revisit the tales that formed the foundation of our history. It is a powerful journey to tell!

Literary Legends Revisited (Grades 4 - Adult)
Stories are told from the page to the stage. Here, literary stories are told from a professional storyteller. These could include tales of Chaucer's Sir Gawain and the Green Knight or a retelling of a Twain favorite.  These timeless tales are sure to enchant, educate, and invite!  Specific literary works can be considered for a tailor-made program.

Ghost Stories and Urban Legends that Chill the Spine and Soothe the Soul (Grades 4 - Adult)
Everyone loves a good ghost tale.   Urban legends and ghost stories will leave students spell bound.   Stories include the recently published "The Jealous Bones of Aaron Kelly," and other tales such as a skeleton who is always hungry.

Wisdom Keepers (Grades 4 - Adult)
This collection of stories honors the wisdom keepers in our lives.  This program helps us cherish our elders and the wonderful blessed people who have passed on their wisdom.

Tales to Tickle the Funny Bone (Grades 4 - Adult)
These stories help us laugh at the foibles in our lives.  The tales are designed to keep us in stitches! However, they serve to teach and show how humor is a rewarding way to learn.

Ensemble Story Performance (Grades K-12)
This is a program that includes up to 20 students at your school creating and performing a story with Kevin for your school!   It is a program designed by Kevin that enables children of all ages to be empowered by telling stories with other kids often on a public stage. Under Kevin’s skillful mediation and coaching, students collaboratively create stories that incorporate their collective voices through ensemble storytelling. Stories are composed by the students. The direction of the story is not solely on telling, but instead on sharing the whole story.

Activity Options:
Performance/ Assembly
  • Duration: 45-60 min.
  • Fees: $300/ $150 each addt'l, or $600 per day (includes combination of workshops and performances)
  • Requirements: Large space for opening assemblies; microphone on stand or clip-on mike.

Teaching and Storytelling In-Service for Teachers (Adult)
As a credentialed teacher and nationally known storyteller, Kevin has provided in-services to teachers in schools around the country and abroad.  Employing his Master's in "Storytelling and Education," and PhD work in "Drama and Narrative Inquiry," he creates teaching in-services that appeal to teachers' needs. Programs can be customized to suit your school.

Options include:
(Please indicate preference on request form)

Building a Legacy - Youth Storytelling or Voices Across America Youth Storytelling Project
This is a program which shows proven techniques to build your own storytelling club, troupe, or class. Drawing on the award-winning nationally known program, Voices Across America, Kevin will demonstrate how to invigorate youth to tell stories and pass on a legacy of storytelling.

Teaching the Tale: Curriculum Connection with Storytelling
This is a personal program that has been designed to help your students understand how story builds curriculum.  Past programs have been designed to teach self-esteem, American history, urban legends, community awareness, honoring our educators, non-violence, drug prevention, and more.

Ensemble Story Teaching  (this can be geared for working with kids and as an in-service for adults)
Designed by Kevin Cordi as a tool for those who work closely with youth, Ensemble Story Teaching is both a unique and effective method to teach standards-based curriculum. As an inquiry based approach, ES borrows from educational drama or process drama and narrative (story) inquiry to engage learners through story.

Activity Options:
  • Duration: 45-75 min. or half day
  • Fees: $350/ $700 half day

One/Two-Week Storytelling Residencies (Grade levels 5 - 12)
Kevin is available for an intensive week(s) which could include highly energized storytelling performances, standards-based workshops, the nuts and bolts of starting a storytelling youth group or troupe at your school, workshops on how to be an author and teller, plus programs for parents, teachers, and the entire school community. This is specialized work that will be tailor made for your school's needs.
Activity Options:
Storytelling Residency
  • Duration: One or two weeks
  • Fees: begins at $2600; negotiable