New Bedford, MA 02740
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.
Educational Services Coordinator
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.
Kathy Waugh, WGBH
Senior Editor/Project Director
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
Office of the President
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
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
FREETOWN and LAKEVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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
MIDDLEBOROUGH, MA 02346
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.
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.
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