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

by Story Tapestries Inc.
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

After a great day of teaching, I feel like there is no doubt that we can change the world through the arts. My students for the day light up when I'm there. They made new connections and their teachers were so impressed at what they had been able to accomplish in such a short time. Then I think about how much we could accomplish with more time! And I think about how many more classrooms there are in that school, and how many more schools there are that have no arts integration presence at all. And suddenly, it all just feels like there is too much work to be done. That’s when I realize that those teachers are really the key. They are there every day with their students, all year round, year after year with a new class. And if they had even a few of the tools I have to help them reach all their students in more meaningful ways through the arts, then the impact of the work we do will go on and on. This is why doing Professional Development Workshops through Story Tapestries is so important. The gift that keeps on giving!

Literacy is not just about teaching children & adults to read & write. It is about people discovering the power of the written word to help them reach for their dreams. If you agree with this statement, please re-post it! Share this project report with friends and family, or simply mention Story Tapestries in conversation. 

Wishing you all the best this Holiday Season! 



Over this past year we’ve worked with over 100,000 children and coached multiple teachers around the country. Administrators regularly show us that test scores have increased after we have trained their staff to apply the arts to their literacy programs.  Beyond embracing the quantitative results touting the positive results of education using the arts as one of the tools to teach, we do this work because of those light-bulb moments we often witness during our programming. Those electric moments when students and educators suddenly “get it”- when the math concept they’ve been struggling to grasp or present becomes clear through the visual art project they’re engrossed in, or when the writing exercise they’ve struggled for weeks to make sense of suddenly becomes second-nature. We believe in the value of the work we do because we so often witness these pivotal moments propelling individuals ahead further than they even thought possible, and continuing to have a positive effect long after our programs have ended.

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  - Margaret Mead

Musical Learning
Musical Learning

For Story Tapestries, arts integration goes much deeper than just being a tool for learning; it creates a way to weave our stories together to create community. It helps us belong. However, the bleak reality is that too many people have never had the opportunity to be enriched by the arts. While there are many reasons why this happens, most often the reason people don’t get to experience arts integration is painfully simple yet seemingly unavoidable: funding was unavailable. And almost always, the people who suffer the most from the absence of art tend to lack access and privilege. They’re essentially left behind, and possibly miss out on learning something that could dramatically shape their lives.

Thank you for your generosity and thank you for being a part of helping to improve the lives of individuals throughout the country.

 Happy Holidays!

Sharing the gifts of education
Sharing the gifts of education
Arianna Ross professional development workshop
Arianna Ross professional development workshop

If you’ve ever witnessed the wonder in a child’s eyes during a live performance or a student’s “Eureka!” moment during a creative, engaging classroom activity, then you understand why we are so passionate about the work we do. 

As the saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child"....this statement couldn't be more true, especially when considering all the support we've recieved this year from our generous donors. These donations enable us to grow our professional output and reach, but knowing that so many people really do care about the well-being of our communities, especially the youth, inspires us to go out each day with a renewed passion and sense of purpose for our work. 

We're excited to continue this project into 2015, and expand our services to include a new multi-literacy educational tool, a "Virtual Classroom" that will provide 24-hour access to our services and resources. This new tool will enable us to deepen our impact on communities around the country! 

Professional Development Workshop
Professional Development Workshop


Bringing lessons to life with laughter
Bringing lessons to life with laughter

What does it mean to have access to resources? 

We believe that for a community to be successful its students, educators and parents/mentors must have access to:

- information

- time

- opportunity

Access for students:

We work with schools to understand how to share information with students in a way that allows every kind of learner to process and demonstrate comprehension.  We partner with them to organize time so that students are interacting with new subject matter and resources for a period of time that is appropriate and effective.  All of us together are working hard to ensure students have opportunities not only to learn and be successful in school, but also opportunities to continue to grow, achieve goals and be successful as adults.  Experiences during their school years that allow students to share, explain and celebrate what they're learning, such as schoolwide performances, are incredible opportunities that reinforce lessons and develop a sense of pride in their own accomplishments.

Student responses to Story Tapestries programs:

THIS is incredible. Can we do this every year? I did not know that science could be easy. Did we really build a live machine? I would go to school every day with a smile on my face if we always had workshops like this.

Access for educators:

Teachers want their students to be successful.  They seek information, reference materials, and best practices using whatever tools they have available to them.  Unfortunately, while there are many resources out there, they are often difficult to find or expensive to acquire.  Educators are continuously asked to achieve more in the classroom with less and less time dedicated to each subject area.  They struggle to have time to plan and execute interactive lessons for their students that bring a sense of fun to learning and allow the students to be part of the process.  Most teachers we meet are eager to try out new methods, but are afraid to test out something new without the support of an expert.

An educator's response to Story Tapestries programs:

"Encouragement from (Story Tapestries) while implementing my first lesson plans using this artistic approach resulted in innovative new methods through which my current students learn... the outcome is an increased interest and participation... By teaching those who will teach others, the efforts of Story Tapestries will continue to reach young pupils for generations to come."
- Shannon Eaton, Montegut High School

Access for parents:

Many parents aren't able to keep up with the constantly changing academic standards.  They're not sure what they can do at home to support their child's learning.  Parents must balance their own lives and the logistics of daily life with the desire to enjoy time with their kids and be part of their growth.  Some parents become disconnected from the school community because there aren't clear or easy/convenient ways to participate and engage and/or because they're faced with barriers such as language.

A parent's reponse to Story Tapestries programs:

“Thank you for working so closely with our teachers, being so creative, and inspiring our children to think above and beyond.”
- Shelly Cefalu, PTA representative at North Forest Pines Elementary School

Story Tapestries is dedicated to addressing these needs in communities across the country.  We've designed a Virtual Classroom web-based tool that will allow children, teachers and parents to access information in innovative ways.  Our goal is to address access to information, reduce the time necessary to do so, and increase the opportunities for all community members to be part of the education process.  The arts break down the barriers that challenge communication, and bringing the magic and power of arts-based tools to every community is our commitment. 

Our brand new website will put valuable resources at the fingertips of users.  Learn more here:


We are sharing with you about this project now as we get ready for tomorrow's #GivingTuesday celebration.  Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is a way to connect to the "meaning for the season" - celebrating compassion and giving back to our own communities.  On Giving Tuesday we come together and celebrate a new global tradition of generosity.  We invite you to be part of this special world-wide movement!

Global Giving has found numerous ways to get involved in the #GivingTuesday movement, and Microsoft YouthSpark will be matching donations made through Global Giving to approved projects at the following times:

Tuesday, December 2 at 9am EST

and Tuesday, December 2 at 3pm EST

Funds will run out quickly, so if you'd like to be a part of this matching event and make your gift give even bigger, be sure to donate either at 9am or 3pm EST.

Thank you for your continued support as we strive to provide better services to more people each day!  If this project strikes a chord with you, we'd encourage you to share this message with family, friends and colleagues that might be inspired to become part of this international Giving Tuesday movement.

With deep appreciation!

-the Story Tapestries Team



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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
$28,917 raised of $45,000 goal
637 donations
$16,083 to go
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