Creating Our Story Together is an oral and written storytelling project for school-age children, ages 5-10, and their families. It is a collaboration between the Highlawn Library and The Community-Word Project, a multidisciplinary literacy and art programming organization that focuses on children and teens. Parents/caregivers and their school age children will paricipate in a 10-week program at the library where they will tell stories orally, transcribe and illustrate their stories, and create a bound anthology containing all of the participants work which they will be able to take home. The practice of oral storytelling has many benefits. When families share stories, experiences and ideas, they form close connections. The practice also increases literacy skills by increasing vocabulary, honing narrative skills, and supporting language literacy. The audience can also benefit by exercising their listening, thinking and analytic skills. The Community-Word Project will facilitate the sessions and help to draw out the stories from the participants on various topics, for example cultural or family traditions, or narratives about daily life.

Week 1: What is a story? -- The families will get to know each other and the anthology artist, who will introduce the elements of a story and the art of storytelling.

Week 2: Tell me your story -- The parents will share a story with their children which we will digitally record for use in later sessions. This can be done in their native language, with the option of having it translated into English for the final anthology.

Week 3: Tell me your story -- The children will share a story which we will digitally record for use in later sessions.  The facilitator and parents will help the children craft their stories using storytelling cubes and other games and activities.

Week 4: Listen to my story -- The families will be provided with their digital recordings from weeks 2 and 3. While listening to the recordings they will begin to write their first draft by transcribing their oral stories.

Week 5: Draw your story -- With the assistance of the theater/visual artist the parents and children will create illustrations and artwork to accompany their transcribed stories, which will appear in a final group anthology.

Week 6: Perform your story -- The theater/visual artist will coach the families while they practice reading their stories out loud to the group.

Week 7: Write your story -- With the help of the anthology artist, the families will work on finalizing the rough draft and illustrations of their oral stories.

Week 8: Publish your story -- The anthology artist will coach the families as they make their final edits to their transcribed stories. At the end of this session the stories will be taken and published into a group anthology. The families can decide if they want their story published in both their native language and in English.

Week 9: Rehearsing your story -- The families will be coached by the theater/visual artist while they practice reading their stories in preparation for a final performance.

Week 10: Share your story -- In this final week the families will share their stories out loud with the public and their families. They will receive a printed copy of the group anthology and enjoy refreshments.

General Info

Describe your program idea in one sentence

We will strengthen family literacy skills by designing and facilitating an oral and written storytelling project for school-age children and their families at the Highlawn Library.

Describe how you will highlight library resources, collection material, and/or programs

Parents and children will be encouraged to sign up for library cards enabling them to have access to both our print and online resources. Books will be displayed during our program highlighting our World Language Collection and specific topics, for example, "How to write a story". Participants will be offered information about ongoing programs at our location and throughout the system and be introduced to online databases, useful for both the parents and children.

Describe the community need you will address

We will strengthen family literacy skills by designing & facilitating an oral and written storytelling project for children and their parents at the Highlawn Library. Highlawn is located on the border of Bensonhurst & Gravesend where statistics show that almost half of the population are foreign born & around 20% do not speak English fluently at home. Oral storytelling is a longstanding tradition that crosses many cultures. There is evidence that it can strengthen literacy skills.

Target Audience

Older Adults
Team Leads


Danielle Shapiro


Highlawn Library

Is this proposal a collaboration of 2 or more branches?

Community Partner

Organization Name

Community-Word Project

Describe why you chose this/these partner(s) and the context of your collaboration

The Community-Word Project, recommended by a colleague, is an organization that provides quality multidisciplinary literacy and creative art programming for children and teens. Creating Our Story Together is an oral storytelling project where families share stories orally, transcribe, illustrate and create a printed group anthology. CWP will provide two teaching artists specializing in anthologies and theater to facilitate the process, create the books and help produce a public reading event.

Average: 5 (10 votes)
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