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

by Story Tapestries Inc.

Thank you so much for your continued support. The lifes that we get to touch daily is made possible by you. Thank you.

Story Tapestries is consistently collaborating with artist, we had the pleasure of doing so with Diane Macklin, storyteller and teaching artist, in December. Here is a snipet of her experience:

As 2015 came to a close, I was incredibly grateful to have worked at Bridges Early Learning Center in Vero Beach, FL in December. I met incredible educators, parents, and others invested in the care and education of our most precious community members – children.

Family Literacy NightsWe had a delightful, embedded residency where the teachers made the commitment, as well as the center’s staff, to have a series of planning meetings from start to finish of the week long experience; a Saturday professional development lead by Arianna Ross followed by planning time so the teachers could set goals and prepare for a week that would conclude with them as the lead teacher of a multi-sensory based learning activity; and, the generous gift of a willing spirit and opened doors, allowing me to work with the children as a co-teacher and their teachers as a coach. I am so impressed with what the teachers were able to accomplish in such a short time. I do not believe it would have been possible without their constant flexibility, honesty, and willingness to be creative. Here are some of the reflections by the teachers: Read them and the rest of the story HERE




It is always an honor and privilege to work with Diane. Surely you will hear more from her as we continue to collaborate on future projects and events.


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.


What an incredible Fall for Story Tapestries!!!!  Over the last 4 months, we have completed 6 long term residencies and multiple family events in MD, DC and FL. All of the programs were supported by Story Tapestries artists, donors and grants written by the Story Tapestries' team in collaboration with other organizations. If we wrote about all of them, than this report would be incredibly long, but you can read more HERE.


Recently, we worked with all of Kent Island Elementary School's 2nd grade team. Without the Story Tapestries matching funds to support this work, it would not have happened. The PTA paid for a portion and they wrote a grant for another piece of the pie but that still was not enough. We appealed to our donors and raised enough money to spend 4 days with each classroom. It was a powerful experience for both the students, teachers, and the artist...The teacher's said that they observed during the work students who never shine, who never add their voice to a story, talking up a storm.
At the top of December, we launched a new section of our partnership with The Learning Alliance to coach teachers and early childhood center directors on how to improve the way they use multi-sensory strategies with their 0-5 year olds...On Saturday December 5th, Arianna Ross, taught the first Saturday workshop, Harnessing the Power of the Arts: Teaching Literacy, to over 60 teachers from Indian River County. We used elements of storytelling, dance, drama, visual arts and writing to increase the teacher's ability to develop their students' emergent literacy understanding, cognitive power, fine and gross motor development as well as their knowledge of the core subjects.
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...Besides giving the teachers a range of strategies, we found that there was an added success, a community of early childhood educators, who now knew each other at a deeper level, spoke the same language and wanted the same results for their children. 
Our goal was for the team to leave the workshop with activities to support purposeful play, help them meet their FL Gold Standards, and to develop their ability to ask open ended questions...One educator left the workshop saying that now she is planning to incorporate children's imagination into their learning by asking open ended questions. Another mentioned "I like reading, then acting out, illustrating and surmising what happens after the written word ends." The overall response to the start of this pilot program was "GREAT workshop!!"
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. 

The Powerful GIFT of LITERACY



We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones well!  As usual here at Story Tapestries, we are working hard this holiday season to end illiteracy through arts integration.


Did you know, according to a study conducted in late April by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can't read? That's 14% of the population and the next 29% exhibited only a "basic" reading level (4th grade).


Arts integration has the ability to unlock a multitude of learning abilities. More of the brain is at work when the arts are part of the learning process, strengthening attentiveness, reaction time and comprehension and long-term retention. Many of the schools we have held art-literacy programs at, showed nearly 90% improvement on test scores.  So as you prepare to bless your friends and family this season, we ask that you would consider partnering with Story Tapestries by becoming one of our champions, SPREAD THE WORD!!



We have had an incredible year and we plan on not only finishing 2015 strong, but getting a great start on 2016. Check out what teachers, professionals and parents are saying after having experienced the difference that just one program can make in lives.

Student Engagement


“Seeing the student engagement was amazing.  We have a lot of compliant students but I was able to see engagement not just compliance.” Literacy Coach, Rosewood ES, Vero Beach, FL


Overcoming Linguistic and Social Struggles


“In the last several years we’ve been able to offer programs that use the talents of Story Tapestries teaching artists to use arts integration techniques to help our students and teachers grow. We’ve seen that with the specific linguistic and social struggles our children face, these methods are incredibly effective in helping students learn.” Principal, Gaithersburg ES, Gaithersburg, MD


Family Literacy Nights


“This was one of the best, if not the best, program we have heard in the past ten years’ offerings for Reading night. We highly recommend Arianna with her Story Tapestries programs for any age.” Media Specialist, Quantico Base, VA


Accessing Hidden Talents and Abilities


“You enabled our students to think beyond what they read about in our VA Studies textbook. Students tapped into talents and abilities in ways they are not always able to display in a traditional classroom setting.” 4th Gr. Teacher, Carlin Springs ES, Arlington, VA



We love sharing the impact we are having in our communities.  Please take a moment to check out a video about our mission HERE, then check out our blog HERE to see updates from our arts programs and workshops.  Lastly, like us on Facebook and remember to share this important work with your friends and family. Join Story Tapestries by sharing your story with us! Please share why the arts are so important to you on Facebook or Twitter using #StoryTapestries.



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 these projects too.

Creating their Rap
Creating their Rap

We frequently share stories about how students and families have been impacted by a Story Tapestries event, workshop or residency.  Another beautiful facet we love is working directly with teachers, community leaders and other professionals by supplying the tools and skills to build on the work we do with students.  Adults, like students, are often hesitant to engage initially but after a few warm up activities they are transformed as the sessions move forward.


Bomani Armah, a hip-hop songwriter and one of our collaborators, recently taught a Professional Development Workshop training all staff connected the YMCA Youth and Family Services (YFS), a community-based, comprehensive social services branch of the YMCA Metropolitan Washington. YMCA – YFS provides school and community-based prevention and early intervention services to at-risk and under-served children and families from across Montgomery County, MD. Most of the services they provide are free to the community.


This workshop with Bomani focused on creative writing through hip-hop and was an INCREDIBLE SUCCESS! The counselors were visibly eager to learn how to bring the tips and lessons from the class to their students. The workshop attendees wrote rhyming raps of their own lives and performed to music in front of each other. It was amazing to see everyone smiling and laughing as they succeeded with a new skill, you can see the beauty HERE.


We have additional workshops scheduled at this location and next time the students will be brought in to join the fun. We are really looking forward to observing teachers incorporate lessons from our workshops into their classrooms. The raps they wrote in the class were just the tip of the iceberg.


Like many other community centers or schools, wanted a continuous program that would build a solid foundation with their staff and students. Their Benchmarks Program, focused on Middle School age, goal is to catch the students at the point where they are starting to show they are not sure about education, as they are starting to lose their desire to learn and to reignite their love of learning. We were thrilled to be invited to provide an artist-in-residency in this program. An artist-in-residency program creates the opportunity for a child to participate in a 5-day program that provides a literacy boost that lasts a lifetime. Providing this opportunity costs only $40 (on average) to make a real and lasting difference in a student’s life.


If you LOVE this project please share this report with friends and family, or simply mention Story Tapestries in conversation. 

Sharing her Rap
Sharing her Rap

Your support matters!! Thank you for giving!!


Families in DC got funky with the fun, fresh musical approach of Jamaal Collier at a local Washington D.C. School. During a Family Night event, Jamaal used music to engage participants in literacy development activities that had them laughing, clapping and having a ball. Jamaal was welcomed to an atmosphere that was alive with benevolent, rambunctious vitality and the family and community energy present only increased as the evening went on.

Family Night participants were eager with anticipation, excited to hear what the artist had to share with them. Jamaal’s performance addressed how music is all around us, the significance of the culture of Hip Hop and its history. He showed how we do many things with a rhythm and our own unique style, like rhyming. He performed a few original songs, some parodies of popular Rap songs and invited everyone in the audience to create music with him.

Children and adults alike were alert and enthusiastic to share and participate in the call-and-response time near the end. Sometimes when Jamaal would ask questions of the little ones, their parents were so engaged that they would forget he’d asked the kids to respond and blurt out the answer themselves in their excitement. Jamaal had a wonderful time sharing with everyone and left the school with a great sense of gratitude for the power music has to connect us to one another and to our personal histories.

We want more of these moments. Our goal is to increase our community impact by 25% in 2016.  Last year we reached 89,700 people and in 2016 we hope to reach 115,000. 


Thank you for helping us make precious evenings like the Family Night described above possible!


If you connect with this vision or know a friend who would please consider donating, please share this report with friends and family, or simply mention Story Tapestries in conversation.  Know that your voice is having an enormous impact!


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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
$25,400 raised of $45,000 goal
573 donations
$19,600 to go
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