News & Updates
We hope that the 2016 - 2017 school year has brought a lot of joy to you, your students, and their families. It has been another fantastic year of learning for SAI as well - although the road is not always smooth, it does provide an opportunity to grow and change.

Thank you to all our supporters and a special thank you to everyone who attended a Monte Carlo evening, donated to our shoe drive, or supported a program. We couldn't have done it without you - 

We are looking forward to a great year and hope that you all have a fantastic summer.   #onestoryatatime

In this issue...
Working with Families

Find Great Resources!
Phillipsburg Primary 

This year, Storytellers Luray Gross and Gerald Fierst worked with the ten 2nd grade classrooms of Phillipsburg Primary. The ELS teacher, Michele Szoka, reached out to SAI to help her develop a residency plan and submit a grant application to the Phillipsburg Education Foundation. 

This project not only encompassed storytelling, but also music and art. The students were all introduced to oral storytelling on their first visit with focus on one particular story. Over the next five weeks, they worked with their art and music teacher to enrich the storytelling experience through mask-making, music, and movement. When the storytellers returned, they helped the students bring the story to life with their masks, instruments, and music -  an ambitious, yet successful project! 

It was an honor to work with the fabulous teachers and administrators that helped make the project come to life. We hope to be back!
Did You Know?
  • Check out this TED2016 talk from Nueroscientist Uri Hasson - Your Brain on Communication. Why do great thoughts and stories resonate so strongly? 
  • "Through the shared laughter and joy of play, adults, even those with limited literacy skills, can become full partners in children's development," said Jerome Singer. "The activities that are the easiest, cheapest and most fun to do, such as singing, playing games, reading, story-telling, and just talking and listening, are also the best for child development." - Jerome Singer, Yale Child Study Center. 


This year, SAI will be working with Camp Mercer, a summer camp run by the HomeFront organization. T his day camp keeps the area's poorest kids safe and engaged while giving them a summer of social, intellectual and personal enrichment. Summer camp is critical for homeless children. Many homeless families have a working parent, which means that children may be left unattended during the day. Camp Mercer, with an average daily attendance of more than 165, is designed just for them. Each morning, reading, science and math are taught to prevent a summer-vacation "learning lag." But because this is camp, the staff gets creative to make learning as fun as possible, often weaving lessons into that summer's theme. 

This is where SAI comes in. Our Professional Storytellers  use traditional fables, folktales, and myths to help kids make connections to their learning and find success.  Our Storytellers will work to integrate the tradition of oral storytelling into the theme and curriculum of the camp - helping to make learning fun for all students! Every student, regardless of background or educational ability can participate. 

With your help, we can become an integral part of the camp for the upcoming summer. Each of the children will receive 5 sessions with our Teaching Artists over the course of the summer. Camp will start on June 26, 2017. Every donation - large or small - helps to open the doors of success. Visit our  GofundMe page to donate today !

05-26-2017 20:13:00 PM
by Luray Gross

It's a rainy evening and I have not yet unpacked my suitcase after a four-day stint in the central Jersey town where I used to live.  I was there as the teller for a four-day storytelling residency at Brainerd Elementary School. Brainerd opted to have me see each of their sixteen kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade classes for one 45-minute introduction to storytelling.  This seemed to work out just fine.In each session I told three or four tales, including at least one story in which the children participated through chanting, singing, and/or movement.  My hope was to activate not only their mental image-making facilities, but to create a situation in which they helped the story unfold with their participation.  I was quite pleased with the involvement of the students and touched by their wide-eyed attention and the many connections they made with other folktales and with their personal lives.Near the end of a session with one of the second grade classes, a boy I'll call Manny raised his hand to say, "I have a connection to that dress story.  It's like my mother."  The first story I had told his class was the Haitian tale, "Tipingee,"   . ...ยป

"She was amazing and just what children don't have enough of in this day and age. It brought me back to my childhood. Loved it and so did the kids!" 
--Natalie Izzi, Brainerd 2nd Grade Teacher

Working with Families 

SAI believes that it is not only important to work with students, but also vital to work with their teachers and parents. These two groups in the students' community have a tremendous impact on the students' chance
of success. 

One of the ways we get a chance to work with families and teachers is through Family Literacy Night programs - we were able to provide several of these this past year with two recent ones at Chittick Elementary of East Brunswick and CA Dwyer School in Rockaway. 

The evenings are centered around storytelling and discussion and are often focused on ESL populations. This is a chance to create a sense of community among the teachers, staff, parents, and students. 

"Paula Davidoff was spectacular!  You can tell Ms. Davidoff has been doing this for a long time, and has a true passion for her profession.  Besides being very knowledgeable in her craft, she  possesses fine qualities such as enthusiasm and warmth.  Parents, students, teachers, and administration all enjoyed her  animated storytelling." 
-- Nancy Lombardi, Chittick Elementary School  
Thank you to our outstanding supporters: 
J&J Family of Consumer Companies Charitable Contributions Program
Morris County Community Foundation
NJ State Community Partnership
The Countess Moira Charitable Foundation 
The PNC Foundation
The Rose and Louis H. Linowitz Charitable Foundation
The Turrell Fund
Storytelling Arts, Inc.

Board of Trustees
Edna Friman, President
Retired Educator
Community Volunteer
Michael G. Lettiere, CPA, MAcc
Tax Supervisor,
Lear & Pannepacker, LLP
Theodore K. Cheng, Esq., Secretary
Fox Horan and Camerini, LLP
Susan A. Bell, OD
Dr. Herbert J. Bell, PA
Optometric Physicians

Soni Pahade, MS, Gerontology
Director of Admissions & Marketing
Morris Hall Meadows
Sheila Schnell
Former Educator
Community Volunteer
Board Advisors
Gordon A. Millspaugh, Esq.
Herold & Haines, LLC
Jeffrey N. Stoller
Assistant Commissioner
Office of Labor Planning and Analysis
NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Executive Director
Karen Lavallen

Storytelling Arts, Inc. | 609-430-1922 |

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