Awards, Recommendations, and Educator Endorsements



New Bedford, MA  02740

Dear Sharen:

Congratulations on being the recipient of the Standard-Times literacy award.  The Story Train  is a creative program and educational service with clear benefits to the students.  I am sure  that the students in New Bedford who participate will be positively  impacted in terms of their joy of writing and their gain in  self-esteem. 

I  have made an initial contact with the magnet school coordinator at  Carney Academy in New Bedford.   The  Standard-Times is delighted to assist your efforts and endorsements in bringing The Story Train to New Bedford. 

Best wishes, Sharen.

Jean Bessette
Educational Services Coordinator

WGBH Public Television


Dear Ms. Robertson,

Thank  you for sending us your Story Train materials.  It's a terrific educational service that you've created; not only are you encouraging kids to write, but you've given them---- via the web site and cable show-- a place to  showcase their work and r3eceive reviews.  It was just wonderful watching your students read their stories and take questions from the audience!  Those are the kinds of experiences that can really enhance a child's success in school.  

Please accept our congratulations and endorsements for the wonderful program you've instituted. 

Best regards,
Kathy Waugh, WGBH
Senior Editor/Project Director
Children's Programming

Literacy Newsletter


Dear Ms. Robertson,

Your program and educational service is very interesting.  It sounds like an innovative way to make writing interesting and exciting to children.

We  publish a national literacy newsletter that reaches approximately 1,000  subscribers on a monthly basis.  We invite you to consider submitting  an article about your program.  I think your efforts could provide valuable information and literacy reviews and endorsements to share with our readers. 

Lisa Olivigni Maddox


Nominated in The 11th and 12th Annual Massachusetts Community Television Contest

Category:  Best Educational Program



Educator Endorsements



Harvard University

Office of the President

Massachusetts Hall

Cambridge, MA  02138

Dear Ms. Robertson,

     Writing is, as you well know, a crucial learning tool, and one that students need to be given continuous encouragement with.  Your Story Train program not only encourages and supports writing, but the whole of literacy skill building.  Best wishes for continued success with your Story Train program!


Neil L. Rudenstine, President  


Assawompsett Elementary School

Lakeville, MA

My endorsements are as follows for the efforts of Sharen Robertson, creator of  "The Story Train," a local cable company production. 
The production  involves the creation of stories by elementary children in Middleboro  and Lakeville, MA.  Ms. Robertson makes arrangements months in advance  with a teacher and a class of children.  She visits the school, explains  what she is seeking.  (Essentially, she is seeking to develop the  creativity and imagination of the children by encouraging them to write  original stories.)  When the stories are written, she returns to school  and works with the selected class to prepare them to present the stories  to the public.  She then provides the opportunity for the children to  read their original stories on local access television.   
The entire class of children, their teacher, and parent volunteers are  bused to the cable company offices and studio.  An adult guest speaker makes a brief presentation.  This guest may be a reading coordinator,  language pathologist, principal, or superintendent, etc.  Afterward,  children are selected to read their stories and children in the audience  are allowed to pose questions.   
The  efforts and reviews of Ms. Robertson have been met with much success!  Both  participants - children and adults--enjoy their participation.  Very  favorable community response has been noted.  It seems that everyone  watches the show.  Not only is this an outstanding educational experience for the children - providing motivation for releasing their creativity - but it is also a wonderful public relations and educational service.
The  format of the program seems to be rather universal.  It should work  well anywhere where children are learning and a television outlet is  available.  Efforts such as this need our support, both personal and  financial. I endorse her efforts and encourage such a worthwhile  project.  Once in a while some motivational idea is developed which  needs to be nurtured.  "The Story Train" is such an idea.  I support Ms.  Robertson's efforts and commend her to you.

Thomas J. Venice, Principal

Henry B. Burkland Elementary School

Middleborough, MA  02346

This letter is in support of The Story Train, a cable television program hosted and created by Sharen Robertson.  Ms. Robertson's broadcasts have been showcases where our school's elementary students were able to present their creative writing projects in the exciting forum of television.  Not surprisingly, Ms. Robertson's programs are highly motivating to the students involved---their enthusiasm was obvious.  The Story Train motivates our students to improve their writing skills by giving them the opportunity to display them to the community via cable television.  This type of public celebration of student achievement is a key way to show the public the quality work our children are producing in school, and it is a great way to honor student creativity and writing achievement.

I support Ms. Robertson's efforts to improve children's literacy in our community.


Joseph M. Sawyer, Vice-Principal



Office of the Superintendent of Schools

East Freetown, MA  02717 

I was asked to serve as an invited guest to introduce her television production of "The Story Train".  While I had never been involved in this type of activity in the past, I agreed to participate. 

A  few weeks ago, I served to introduce one of our second grade classes.   The children in this class wrote and illustrated stories related to the  topic of using their imaginations. It was obvious that these children  received a great deal of personal satisfaction and enjoyment from this  activity.  I found the experience to be of great value to the children.   Not only did they prepare a written and illustrated piece of work, but  they also had an opportunity to read their stories to all via the local  cable network which afforded each child an opportunity to listen to each  others work.  In addition, the children visited the local cable  television studio where they had an opportunity on a first hand basis to  observe a television studio in operation.   

There is no question but Ms. Robertson's "The Story Train"  program has tremendous educational value.  Using the television medium  Ms. Robertson makes use of all aspects of written and oral language;  reading, writing, listening and speaking.  I believe Ms. Robertson's  program is highly beneficial.  I welcome this type of educational  innovation and I have encouraged Ms. Robertson in her efforts to seek  funding.  In my opinion, Ms. Robertson has a unique idea that provides  an excellent opportunity for children to learn.  I recommend her and offer my  endorsements for The Story Train program without reservation.  This program and educational service is an exciting adjunct to any school district's language arts program.   

I am most pleased to speak positively on the impact of The Story Train program on a school's educational program. 

Sincerely, Dennis D. Flynn, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools  

Middleborough Public Schools



Dear Ms. Robertson: 

Thank you for the opportunity to appear on the cable program The Story Train.  It is always an enjoyable experience to be with young students and share their very candid responses.  The Story Train is a perfect setting for primary age students to become involved in the fantasies of their great imaginations.   

The ease with which you interacted with the unpredictability of this age group makes The Story Train  an interesting and watchable program for a broad based audience.  In my  brief experience with this activity, I was impressed with how much can  be accomplished with very little resources.  Television is a magic medium which allows simplicity to be transformed in a major production.   Your masterful organization and on air management creates this  transformation for The Story Train! 

Also,  the number of people who tune into each showing underscores both the  educational and entertainment value of this program.  My endorsements are evidenced of  the audience watching The Story Train is supported by the many  reviews and compliments I received after my appearance on the sow.  Students,  parents, and members of the general public were most gracious in  comments to me.   

You should be proud of the popularity of The Story Train  in our viewing area.  It is an experience that teachers and students  look forward to as participants and as viewers.  Thank you for making this educational service a reality for Middleborough and our schools.   

Yours truly, 

Michael S. Ippolito, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools


Henry B. Burkland Elementary School

Midleborough, MA  02346

It is with great pleasure that I write this recommendation for Sharen Robertson and The Story Train.  I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Robertson in preparing my fifth grade class for her cable television program, The Story Train.  Ms. Robertson's attention and dedication to my students was endless.

First, she took my students through the process of brainstorming for creative writing, and then she encouraged each student to select topics for which they would like to write a story. The students then wrote a rough draft.  Ms. Robertson spent hours and hours with my students helping them revise and edit their stories.  In some cases, she even allowed students to dictate to dictate their stories to her while she wrote it down for them.

After the stories were completed and illustrated, Ms. Robertson then spent a considerable amount of time explaining the process of filming the show, and what would be expected of them.  This was a most important step, because it helped to put my students at ease, and to alleviate any fears they may have had.  It showed great sensitivity on the part of Ms. Robertson.

Needless to say, the program was wonderful!  All of Ms. Robertson's hard work and attention to detail were evident.  More important to me as a teacher, was the positive self-image, and eagerness to create and write that Ms. Robertson instilled in my students.

Ms. Robertson proved to be a sensitive, hard-working, dedicated individual, who would be an asset to any institution and situation.    The enthusiasm she inspired in my students, while they were working on material for The Story Train is something they will always remember.  This program would be a benefit to students everywhere.

Yours Truly,

Christine Brandenburg, Grade 5 teacher

Assawompsett Elementary School 

Lakeville, MA  02347

Ms. Robertson has come into my class with her literacy program, The Story Train.  The children were eager to participate in the program.  In preparation for their stories to be read, Ms. Robertson gave countless hours of her time helping the students.  I was especially impressed with the time she spent with each child individually (15-20 minutes) in helping them with the revising of their stories.  This is an important part of our writing curriculum at our school.  To have her expertise so willingly shared was an invaluable bonus for the students.

She also led the children in whole group brainstorming to create a story.  Even the weakest writers were motivated to participate and were anxious to begin writing.

High school students today are showing an unfortunate lack of good writing skills.  Programs like The Story Train, and people like Share, can make a crucial difference in both motivating kids to write and improving their skills as they do.


Carol Kalchthaler, 3rd grade teacher