Keynotes & Conferences


“It was joyous to watch Bill transform a room full of pretty tranquil teachers, at 7:30 on a Saturday morning no less, from a few smiles to uproarious laughter and to bittersweet tears, depending on which story or song he was performing. He moved the room from inertia to clapping and cheering within forty-five minutes.”

—Barbara Wahlberg, New England Association of Teachers of English.


As a keynote presenter, Bill’s blend of story and song, wit and wisdom, are sure to be a highlight of your conference. Coupled with his versatile abilities as a workshop presenter, he’s a successful addition to any program. Bill has presented at hundreds of educational, library and storytelling conferences and worked with a variety of religious organizations. Bill will tailor his keynote to your organization’s mission and conference theme. His current talks include:

A Character and an Author—
Thoughts on Writing for Children

Literacy, childhood and the connection between author and reader.

Orality and Literacy—First We Speak

How competency in the spoken word develops a proficiency and love for literacy.

Schools Are a Web of Stories

How story, song, food and talk influence the learning environment and create community.

The Power of Story

How we make stories and how they make us—the nature of story and its ability to transform.

In the hustle and bustle of each day, I think we pediatricians lose focus of what is most important about our jobs. It is our calling that gets us going every day - to raise better children in a better world. Your presentation reminded us of that. Thank you for sharing your talents of music, and your gifts of storytelling. Your time with us made a profound and lasting impression on each and every one of us.
Elizabeth B. Lange, MD FAAP
President, RI chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Workshops for Teachers & Librarians

The Teaching Power of Stories

Regardless of the subject taught, story is central to how people make sense of the world and build a community with others. In this workshop, participants look at how stories work in people’s lives, what stories define their own lives, and how to use story in an educational setting. Teachers will leave with new ideas for using story in the classroom and a deeper understanding of their work as teachers.

Story at Work

Even the smartest presenters and teacher sometimes forget that the best way to communicate is not with lists, bullet points, or lectures, but with story. In this workshop, Bill Harley, acclaimed writer and performer, will offer insights into why and how story works, then focus on how to structure oral presentation, manage nerves, engage an audience, and transmit passion to help you become a powerful and impactful speaker. This will be an experiential workshop with practical techniques.

Writing for Children

Writing is writing – whether for children or adults, and involves development, discipline and craft. Writing for children requires a certain sensitivity to and awareness of the audience. Bill offers his insights about developing story and voice for younger people, with a discussion of different age groups and markets. He’ll offer methods he uses to find and develop material to get the story down, and leave plenty of time for questions from participants.

A Love of Story

This workshop focuses on the connections between two aspects of Bill’s work: storytelling and writing. Students who can tell a story are often the ones with stronger reading and writing skills. Bill will offer his insights on the connection between oral fluency and literacy giving teachers a better understanding of how and why storytelling is an essential teaching tool. With a simple hands-on experience in telling stories, this session will be fun, educational and inspirational.

“After watching this TEDx clip, you may never want to stand before an audience again without pausing, at least once, to utter these seven magic words: “Let me tell you a little story.”... most advice about the importance of narrative comes from psychologists and communication consultants, not storytellers. So here is a master storyteller, Bill Harley, talking about his life’s work, and sharing what he’s learned about why storytelling is so central to human understanding...”
Tom Smerling

Interested in having Bill present at your conference? Email or call the office: 508-336-9703.


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