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.
“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.
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.”
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.”
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!