• Kevin Cordi

A Playful Manifesto of Story: A Practical and Vital text for Tellers, Writers, and Teachers


I had the good fortune to meet Nick, a graduate of Miami University and see how on fire he was/is for teaching. He also had that curiosity that every good and soon-to-be teacher does. He sent me a review of my most recent book and I had to share his words. He has caught the spirit of the work and from his words, I can see he is ready to play I hope it encourages you to play with words, stories, ideas, and your own teaching.


Cordi's students engaged in play.

Playing with Stories is an explosive text that will rejuvenate any writer, thinker, teller, and teacher. I am a pre-service teacher, and I will keep this book close to my side in my first years of teaching! I would highly recommend this text to undergraduates and master teachers alike!


To begin, Cordi’s work is transcendent of many education writers through a seamless blend of theory and practice. Playing with Stories reads like a manual, but feels like a manifesto—it is a holistic look at what it means to speak and listen inside and outside of the classroom. To this end, it may come to some surprise that Cordi’s first step towards deep storytelling is “deep listening”; however, it is this practice which allows us to become mediators of our stories and the stories that surround us every day. The act of being open to story, is what Cordi calls giving oneself “Permission 2 Play”. This pledge affirms a storyteller’s passion to play, learn, make mistakes, fail, question their thinking, revise, create, and most of all: to have fun with their stories.


Underlying Cordi’s work is the tinder that will rekindle the fire of story in each person. Through Cordi’s unique process known as “word dancing”, the hesitant writer or speaker will find a way into the journey of storytelling through tried and true exercises and practice. When we dance with words, then stories become a playful construction of contemplation and communication. While contemplation and reflection may take place alone, communication with a story mediator does not. Cordi gives explicit advice on how to co-construct stories from a peer level or from a teacher level. This is informal assessment at its best, and it allows teachers the chance to genuinely interact with students and their stories. By the end of Playing with Stories, I felt the old urge to start writing and telling again. I felt the urge to carry this framework into my lesson planning, pedagogy, and life. What is more basic to our humanity then story? What is more essential to young people then owning and playing with their stories? Through deep listening, word dancing, and mediation, we may just find that the root of lifelong learning is found in giving oneself permission to be a lifelong storyteller.


About Nick:


Nick is a graduating pre-service teacher ready for his first teaching assignment. He has much to offer his future classroom. I know he will work playful wonders! I am thankful for his review and his return to play. Thanks Nick, I hope more and more people give themselves permission to play. You can order this book on my website (I am glad to sign it and sneak in an extra surprise, simply cite this post and I will add this suprise) or at this link.



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