Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Feb 09, 2021

Storytelling School with The Moth: Storytelling Activity #34

by Moth EDU

Lesson #34: DELIVERY: "Roar"- Amanda Gorman

Welcome to the first official 2021 Storytelling School with The Moth! If you were as blown away as we were by the performance of Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate, at the inauguration a few weeks ago, you’re going to love her Moth story about putting yourself out there, trying your best, and ending up where you’re meant to be.

This week’s Storytelling School story is:

“Roar” by Amanda Gorman

Read the transcript of Amanda’s story.

After you’ve watched and read the story, you can do the following activities: 

Talk to each other about Amanda’s story. 

For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on DELIVERY. Amanda clearly knows how to engage her audience, whether that is in a room full of people at a storytelling show, or on a national stage at the Presidential Inauguration. At The Moth, we know that a good story requires interesting content, but also a skillful, practiced telling. 

  • Amanda does not just stand immobile at the microphone during this telling. How does she employ physicality throughout her story and what effect does that have? 

  • Amanda is a poet and her sense of rhythm is apparent, even in the prose form of this story. How does she use the cadence of her voice and well-placed pauses to enlist a response from the audience? 

  • There are several repeated words and phrases in this story. What is the impact of that repetition? 

Write or tell your own story.

At The Moth, we believe in celebrating the diversity and commonality of human experience. Often, listening to someone’s story will remind us of a story from our own lives. While you almost definitely have not had Amanda’s exact experience, it still may have reminded you of a story from your own life. Get inspired by these prompt questions to tell your own story!

  • Tell us about a time you put yourself out there

  • Tell us about a time you felt the pressure

  • Tell us about a time you wanted to prove you could make it 

  • Tell us about a time you took your mom’s advice

  • Tell us about a time you felt broken

  • Tell us about a time you waited for your name to be called

  • Tell us about a time you stood in the spotlight 


  • If you haven’t had a chance to hear Amanda’s beautiful inauguration poem yet, you can do so here and you can read a transcript of it here. And you can watch and read her poem from the Super Bowl here. Now try your hand at writing poetry! If you’re not sure where to get started, take a look at these poetry exercises

  • Are you a 10th-12th grader living in NYC and want to practice storytelling? Apply for All City! Applications are OPEN for our FREE virtual All City Residency Program! All City is a 7 week virtual workshop for 10th-12th graders from all five boroughs of NYC to meet new people, brainstorm ideas, play games and tell their stories. The application deadline is February 15th and workshops start the first week of March. Find out more HERE.
  • Are you a 10th-12th grader living OUTSIDE of NY and want to practice storytelling?  Apply for All Country! Applications will open March 1st, here on our site.

Share this post with a friend!

And check back the second Tuesday of next month for another story.

Storyteller bio

Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Sociology. She has written for the New York Times and has three books forthcoming with Penguin Random House.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, she began writing at only a few years of age. Now her words have won her invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and others. Amanda has performed multiple commissioned poems for CBS This Morning and she has spoken at events and venues across the country, including the Library of Congress and Lincoln Center. She has received a Genius Grant from OZY Media, as well as recognition from Scholastic Inc., YoungArts, the Glamour magazine College Women of the Year Awards, and the Webby Awards. She has written for the New York Times newsletter The Edit and penned the manifesto for Nike's 2020 Black History Month campaign. She is the recipient of the Poets & Writers Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and is the youngest board member of 826 National, the largest youth writing network in the United States. 

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources. To learn more, visit themoth.org/education

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from The Kresge Foundation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the Kate Spade New York Foundation, and Alice Gottesman. 

Additional program support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the New York State Council on the Arts, ConEdison, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.