Story-Telling Project Continues to Raise Literacy
Students volunteer in local elementary school
2 min. read
April 15, 2009

Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Sharon Klassen knows that literacy leads to justice; which is why she partnered with a local elementary school to start the Story Telling Project three years ago. Almost every semester since, fifteen Redeemer students have ventured to the East Hamilton neighbourhood of Ottawa and Main to inspire, encourage and mentor young students on their road to literacy by helping them bring their stories to life. From the adventures of a monkey named ‘Bananas,’ to the tale of a cow-led farm rebellion, children at Memorial School are enabled to imagine, write, and perform their stories through the Story Telling Project. Initially starting at Queen Mary School, the program has relocated to Memorial School to continue its transformative work. With students from a diverse array of socio-economic backgrounds, Memorial has struggled to achieve adequate literacy test scores and is very supportive of the project. “The beauty of the Story Telling Project is that it addresses reading, writing and communication skills in a manner that is fun and relevant to the students,” says Memorial School Principal John Bradley. “Without even realizing they are doing so, our students practice their skills in a non-threatening, social and enjoyable environment.” Redeemer students have also participated in two family literacy nights at Memorial, where they were able to read stories to evening attendees. Not only do Redeemer students have the chance to participate in a meaningful program, but also develop classroom and tutoring skills that often affirm or alter their career goals. To cover the costs of expenses such as notebooks, pens, and mileage, the project has been funded by private donors as well as grants through Redeemer and the Fasco Foundation. As students and participants continue to demonstrate enthusiasm and excitement for the project, all are looking forward to the continuation of the program in the fall.

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