Teach Literacy through the Arts in DC, MD, and VA

by Story Tapestries Inc.
Vetted

Every once on in a while, we and the artists we work with like to step back and appreciate why we work so hard to help educators teach literacy through the arts.  One of the wonderful artists in the Story Tapestries network, Carie Sue Ayvar, recently sat down with us to explain how she came to be so passionate about this work.

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“I just love stories!” says Carrie Sue Ayvar, award-winning storyteller and longtime friend of us here at Story Tapestries.  She was explaining her enthusiasm and love for storytelling.  Carrie Sue remembers telling and listening to stories since she was little. Her inspiration to become a storyteller comes from her grandfather whose stories she listened to while visiting him during summers.  “If I came to him with a problem or something, he always had a story to tell. That’s how he encouraged me to figure things out,” she says

 She is a firm believer of using her art to educate and communicate. “My grandfather taught me that it’s hard to hate someone whose story you know,” she says.

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Her stories are traditional and international folktales, with a sprinkling of her own anecdotes. She regularly incorporates other languages, especially Spanish, into her stories.

“Children easily adapt to be bilingual but adults may not be as fluent,” she says. Using familiar stories with bilingual elements helps non-native speakers grasp a new language. As these parents continue telling the stories, they can improve on their language skills through using rhyme, rhythm and repetition.

Through her stories, Carrie Sue has been able to incorporate both language and math concepts.  She regularly conducts professional development classes to train teachers to integrate arts into the curriculum. “These things do work.”

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In fact, according to the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies (NASAA), the overall effects of arts integration can benefit both English language learners and native English speakers through being able to communicate better. (More about the NASAA findings, here.)

“Everyone should learn one story to tell,” she explains.”Telling a story empowers a person…giving that confidence to speak in front of others.”

Ever busy, Carrie Sue is already looking ahead and preparing programs for the new year. “I’m so lucky to do the things that I love…listening and telling stories.”

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With Story Tapestries, Carrie Sue has worked with students in workshops and performances to improve literacy skills, and she has also become a regular contributor with our weekly "Tuesdays with StoryTapestries" Facebook Live video series.  We're thankful to have her in our artist network and look forward to bringing her to many more schools and communities in the future!

 

We're happy to be able to share stories like this that let you know how your dollars have made a difference.  Thank you for helping us make such programs possible!

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With only 1 day left in 2016, we're taking a few moments away from our end-of-year campaign to reflect on what we've accomplished over the last year and get ready for the year to come.  We just hit 81% of our goal!!! This means we still have 19% left to go, or about $3,500.  As we reflect, we are reminded that reaching our goal means empowering Story Tapestries to reach over 1,300 more community members with custom-designed arts-integrated programs, many of which are specifically focused on closing the literacy gap in our communities.

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We've had some wonderful successes, and we've also had some wonderful "teaching moments," and both of those types of experiences are valuable!  One recent success was a residency led by our Executive Director, Arianna Ross, in partnership with teacher Mary McGinn and other educators at Stedwick Elementary.  Arianna kicked off the program with an assembly for the entire school, and then she worked with the individual third-grade classes over the course of five days using theatre, writing, movement, and visual art strategies to help students define elements within a story.  Arianna and the teachers at Stedwick Elementary worked in true partnership to co-plan and co-teach in order to identify and best meet the needs of the students.

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During the residency, it became clear that the students would be able to shape the lesson, and the teaching artist and instructors were able to act as a guiding force.  Additionally, the teachers expressed that the process was successful in helping them feel valued through the successes of the students, making it clear that their efforts to integrate arts into their lessons were successful and meaningful.

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This residency is a direct example of how the arts can be used to help students develop literacy skills and habits.  By the end of the residency, the students had integrated all of the different curriculum standards into the creation of a devised opera that they will work on for the duration of the school year.  At the end of the year, they will have the opportunity to perform their opera at The Kennedy Center, where it will be live-streamed to students in Spain! It was a true privilege for Story Tapestries to play a role in this project that starts with an individual school but will eventually cross national and continental boundaries to create a truly global connection.

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Thank you so much for your support! Please continue to advocate for us by sending this report to friends and family that would love to be part of this project too.  

 

 

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Thank you!
Thank you!

We're so grateful for all the community members that have demonstrated their support and were part of the GivingTuesday movement. This year the movement grew to include 98 participating countries and generated $168million in donations globally. For Story Tapestries, nearly 15% of our overall fundraising goal was reached on that day alone - WOW! Bringing us to 20% of our overall goal in total. We still have a ways to go to reach our year-end goal of $20,000 - ultimately empowering us to reach over 1,300 more community members with custom-designed arts-integrated programs.

Story Tapestries brings communities together and empowers kids - especially those who struggle the most. We know the power of the arts to unite communities, revitalize our schools, provide safe spaces for dialogue and healing, raise awareness of social issues, and be a gateway of learning about new cultures. Our children need this guidance RIGHT NOW!

Program participants experience lightbulb moments of connection, and consistently. Their energy, spirit, and new-found enthusiasm are contagious and make us eager to reach more communities, helping them discover the magic of their own creations and imaginations! In 2016 alone we’ve reached over 110,000 people who are grateful and want to say thank you!

Also, on Tuesday 12/6, Story Tapestries friend Carrie Sue Ayvar returned with a special bilingual tale for our weekly Facebook Live video series, Tuesdays with StoryTapestries.  This week, Carrie Sue shared a tale - with harmonica! about Goldilocks and the Jazzy 3 Bears, in which Goldilocks learned a lesson about trouble.  Check out her video on our Facebook page here.

And in case you missed it, be sure to check out our guest blog post by Mandela Harmon HERE, in which she shares about what children's books can teach us about the value of art, acceptance, kindness and the meaning of family. She's been a children's book specialist for 15 years and offers insight about four books that have something extra special to offer their readers. Check out what she has to say!

We're working hard to keep the momentum going! Please consider letting your friends and family know about this unique opportunity to give the most powerful gift - LITERACY!

Thank you for your continued support of Story Tapestries!

Links:

Learning to write collaboratively
Learning to write collaboratively

The special day has ARRIVED!

Story Tapestries has steadily been able to increase the number of people we serve annually by 10%, and in 2017 our goal is to reach 15% more - that would mean connecting with 126,500 people with powerful arts-based tools. To do this, we aim to raise $20,000 before December 31. With special incentives and grants that will help match donations NOW - #GivingTuesday - this presents an incredible opportunity!

Have the arts touched your life? Has being able to read changed your vision and capacity to interact with others? Literacy is an incredible gift that allows you to connect with us now as you read this message - and there are millions of Americans who are unable to do that! The arts are especially effective in reaching every type of learner at any age. 

Guest blogger, Mandela Harmon, shares HERE about what children's books can teach us about the value of art, acceptance, kindness and the meaning of family. She's been a children's book specialist for 15 years and offers insight about four books that have something extra special to offer their readers. Check out what she has to say!

Tomorrow, as part of GivingTuesday, our Executive Director, Arianna Ross, will share a special moment in a Facebook LIVE video. Tune in HERE at 7pm EST to hear what she has to share!

If you believe in the work of Story Tapestries, we ask that you help us reach more community members in 2017. To do so, consider being part of the growing social movement - #GivingTuesday. After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, millions of people will join forces to give back to their communities on #GivingTuesday. GlobalGiving has garnered the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - they will be matching donations at 50% on November 29th for up to $1 million in donations! This means $10 will mean $15 towards Story Tapestries programs if you give today - that's a pretty awesome incentive! Matching starts at 12:00am EST and goes until 11:59pm EST or until funds run out; and they usually run out before 11am EST! 

Please consider giving again on this important occasion and letting your friends and family know about this unique opportunity to give the most powerful gift - LITERACY!

Thank you for your continued support of Story Tapestries!

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Story Tapestries!

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, we at Story Tapestries are reflecting on what brings us joy. At the top of our list is our amazing family - and that includes YOU!

We're grateful for...

...your ability to read this message

...children's smiles when they have lightbulb moments of learning

...teachers' renewed excitement when they discover new ways to connect with their students

...our partners that inspire and support us

...the child that discovers the joy of reading after participating in a program

...the parents that learn how to share a song, a poem, or a story with their children

...the 110,000 people we were able to connect with in 2016 thanks to YOU!

MOST of all, we're grateful for supporters like YOU that see the value of Story Tapestries.

THANK YOU for being a part of our ever-growing family of artists, educators, parents, students and community members.

We are excited to have launched an artful moment initiative that brings a Story Tapestries artist or family member into your home every Tuesday at 7pm EST. This past Tuesday featured artist Suzanne Richard. If you missed here, you can watch her HERE! Then tune in Tuesday November 21st with artist Carrie Sue Ayvar!

Be sure to check out our latest blog post on the impact of the arts on literacy development.

Several studies have linked the impact of arts with the development of language arts skills and literacy skills. Arts integration programs implemented in schools across a period as short as a few months have been shown to improve students' abilities to master certain language skills.

There are many ways in which the arts can be integrated into the classroom. Read more in this week's blog here...

If this project still connects with you and what's important to you, please consider being part of this growing social movement - #GivingTuesday. After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, millions of people will join forces to give back to their communities on #GivingTuesday. GlobalGiving has garnered the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - they will be matching donations on November 29th for up to $1 million! This means your donation can go twice as far if you give next Tuesday - that's a pretty awesome incentive!

Please consider putting it on your calendar, and letting your friends and family know about this unique opportunity to give the most powerful gift - LITERACY!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Story Tapestries Inc.

Location: Germantown, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.storytapestries.com/​
Project Leader:
Arianna Ross
Germantown, Maryland United States
$28,634 raised of $45,000 goal
 
626 donations
$16,366 to go
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