Storytellers & Writers

STORYTELLERS & WRITERS is a new, quality, dual-language/dual-culture after school and summer program for elementary and middle school students who could benefit from a creative, alternative learning program that helps them with Language skills and with the challenges immigrant students face in general. It addresses the need for ESL (English as a Second Language) students to get extra help in English writing, reading and speaking skills so that they can do well in school.

STORYTELLERS & WRITERS also recognizes the importance and value of students maintaining and strengthening their home language skills, as well as the importance of students developing a robust identity with both their native culture and the American culture. A deepening awareness of identity, sense of place and a sense of belonging helps to provide students with the purpose and resiliency they need to live productive and fulfilling lives in this country.

How Storytellers & Writers Works:

♦  As much as possible, sessions of the program take place at a local cultural institution or performing arts venue so that students integrate into the community and have the opportunity to experience the unique energy each cultural space affords;

♦ Students read stories, fables and folk tales from their culture and from America in English and their home language;

♦  Students use strategies from the successful, arts-based INCITE TO WRITE program to address English language acquisition gaps and strengthen skills in meeting Common Core Standards in Language, Reading, Writing, and Speaking & Listening;

♦  Students explore the many ways stories deal creatively with problems; students then collaborate together to write their own stories addressing their challenges and fears and celebrating their triumphs;

♦  Students self-publish their stories in English and their home language;

♦  Students practice telling their stories in both English and Spanish (home language);

♦ Students learn storytelling techniques and collaborate with each other on ways to tell their stories;

♦  Students perform their original stories in both English and Spanish (home language) at a culminating  community performance held at a local cultural institution or performing arts venue.

Objectives:

♦  Address learning gaps in Common Core State Standards in Writing, Reading, Language, and Speaking & Listening skills so that students can achieve better grades in school and become more confident communicators;

♦ Continue to strengthen native language skills; students learn to value their bi-lingual talents and see it as a benefit to their community, an incentive to graduate, and an advantage in finding employment;

♦  Students learn how to inquire, imagine, problem solve, work collaboratively and use their critical and creative thinking skills;

♦  Through writing and telling stories that address problems and fears, students learn to respond to life’s challenges in creative and productive ways and gain confidence in their ability to create fulfilling lives for themselves;

♦  Through reading the folk tales of their native culture as well as the American culture, students gain an appreciation for both cultures, understand the uniqueness and commonality of the human journey, and develop a deepening awareness of identity and purpose;

♦ By participating in the program at different local cultural institutions, students develop a sense of place and a sense of belonging to their community as they gain exposure and an awareness of the cultural and artistic opportunities their community offers;

♦ Students provide a dual-language performance of their original stories to the larger community, including members of their community who speak only Spanish or other home language. By using local cultural institutions and performing arts venues, these bi-lingual performances provides access to the community’s culture scene to families who otherwise would not have that opportunity.