Skip to content

MasterClass – LeVar Burton Teaches the Power of Storytelling

MasterClass – LeVar Burton Teaches the Power of Storytelling

MasterClass – LeVar Burton Teaches the Power of Storytelling

With his iconic roles in Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation and 23 years as the host of Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton has left an indelible mark on our culture. Now the Emmy, Grammy, and Peabody winner is sharing his approach to storytelling so you can connect authentically with any audience. Learn how to find intention, use your voice, and mine your experiences to be a more effective and dynamic storyteller.

13 video lessons (2h 30m)

Browse Lesson Plan

1. Meet Your Instructor
LeVar Burton, the star of Roots and Emmy-winning host of Reading Rainbow, invites you to discover the power of storytelling. He shares how storytelling is an integral part of humanity and why it’s a critical tool of connectivity.

2. Authentic Storytelling
LeVar gives an overview of his life as a storyteller and explains why self-knowledge is key to telling any story.

3. Connect With Your Audience
Storytelling depends on a connection with your audience. In this lesson, LeVar shares techniques for engaging with a wide range of audiences.

4. Case Study: Roots
The miniseries Roots was a revolutionary television event that changed the conversation around chattel slavery in America. LeVar discusses the empathetic impact of the miniseries and how narrative perspective is a powerful tool for change.

5. The Importance of Oral Storytelling
Oral storytelling is our legacy as humans. In this lesson, LeVar explores the significance of oral storytelling and its relationship to how we communicate today.

6. The Imagination Is Our Superpower
LeVar believes that what we imagine, we create. In this lesson, LeVar connects storytelling to the ability to imagine a better world.

7. Case Study: Reading to Children
LeVar reads an excerpt from his children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, and shares techniques for connecting with young audiences through character voices, eyeline, visual cues, and prompts.

8. Performative Storytelling
Public speaking can create anxiety, even for the most seasoned professional. LeVar breaks down the warm-up techniques and grounding exercises that help him prepare for a performance.

9. Case Study: Reading to Adults
LeVar demonstrates specific techniques to help you communicate confidently with an adult audience.

10. Make Your Communication More Impactful
Understanding storytelling can improve the way we communicate in everyday life. Learn how to clarify your message, set an intention, and use rhythm, pacing, and pause.

11. Case Study: Podcasting
Similar to the radio plays of old, podcasting has reignited an interest in audio storytelling. LeVar performs a narrative reading and offers some technical pointers on how to start a podcast.

12. My Storytelling Heroes
Carrying on the work of our mentors preserves their legacy. LeVar introduces a few of his storytelling heroes and speaks about how authenticity and integrity are essential to being a natural storyteller.

13. Who Tells Your Story
In his concluding lesson, LeVar emphasizes the importance of representation in storytelling, including how stories can help you connect and empathize with others—and how boldly sharing your own truth makes the world better.

Leave a Reply