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

by Story Tapestries Inc.

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!


With the end of the year drawing near we are taking a look back at our year and seeing the phenominal impact your support has had on us, schools, community centers, leaders, professionals and parents. Not one day goes by that someone isn't impacted by the great community that is sharing our passion on this project. Growth is happening because of you. Students are gaining deeper understandings of various concepts. Professionals are being traing and learning new tools on how to build on these foundations. Parents are leaving workshops with activities and ideas to round out their childrens learning in the home.


Look at these numbers!! YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN!!


The donations you have so generously partnered with Story Tapestries projects have so for accomplished:

·Engaging OVER 400,000 Students

·Engaging OVER 11,000 Adults

·Engaging OVER 800 Educational Institutions

·Engaging OVER 300 Community Organizations

·In 2014 alone we reached 89,700 people and we are on the path to increase that number by 10% by the end of this year.


We can not say it enough how much we appreciate all that you do sharing our work, donating to specific projects, and even volunteering when there is an opportunity.





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

So Proud - exhibiting their examples
So Proud - exhibiting their examples

Your support matters!! Thank you for giving!!


This last week we were at a local school in Maryland teaching with 2nd graders and 3-5th grader classes. We were able to work with this particular school because they had received grant from Maryland State Arts Council AND a matching portion from Story Tapestries. We were able to match their grant from the donations we have received from you through Global Giving. Without your support none of the following would have been able to take place.


We were so in sync with the teachers’ needs that our customization fit right into their lesson plan. One teacher, in the 3rd grade class, was teaching on character traits as we walked into the room. It fit perfectly into the lesson plan we had for the day. The 2nd grade teacher had math vocabulary on her plan for the next day. So, our techniques bridging the concepts of multiplication, division, addition and subtraction through gesture, movement and drama was a perfect lead in for her.


The arts-literacy tools we used developed an understanding and foundation for the students (in all grade levels) to build on and enabled them to write their own examples of the work by the end of classes. The 3rd – 5th graders were writing their own story starters and the 2nd graders wrote their own math word problems. These are the results we want to see; students grasping and applying the tools taught.


We are actively looking for more funding for this school. This is one of the first of many we will work with this next year. Many will be in a financial hard spot at the end of their residency. They want the arts-literacy artists in their schools but simply cannot afford to hire them.


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


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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
2016 Year End Campaign
Time left to give
$27,411 raised of $45,000 goal
593 donations
$17,589 to go
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