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‘Pirates’ To Invade PRES for Innovative Writing Workshop

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Pirates are coming to Pound Ridge Elementary School! Don’t worry. They’re good pirates. In fact, they’re Story Pirates

Story Pirates is a national education and media organization that was founded in 2003 to celebrate the words and ideas of young people. They pair teachers with actors and comedians and offer a variety of tools to make learning more engaging and effective. Dually based in New York and Los Angeles, they are best known for their Play/Write Program, a series of writing workshops that make kids' own stories the basis for a big, loud, outrageous, musical sketch comedy show.

Sponsored by the Reading Committee of the Pound Ridge Elementary (PRES) PTA, the group will make its first of two visits to the school on Tuesday, Jan. 17, and meet with students in all grade levels. During this program, the Story Pirates will present the "Idea Storm," a creative writing workshop led by the group’s teaching artists. Students will get to explore the elements of storytelling as they write about and act out the topics that they care about most.

“The curriculum is designed to spark the imaginations of students, to help them give form to their ideas, and to help them think about new ways of telling stories,” said PTA member Lynn Borsellino. “They believe kids' imaginations are worth cultivating and ought to be celebrated.”

The Story Pirates will encourage students to write their own stories, which can be as short or long as the student wishes. The stories will be collected by the PRES Reading Committee and submitted to the Story Pirates, who will read every story and write feedback on each and every one.

Story Pirates will then return to PRES on Thursday, March 1 for the culmination of the program. The group will present its "New Story Show" in the auditorium for the entire student body. It will feature stories written by PRES students and performed by the Story Pirates. They will try to include one story from each grade level in the performance. The children will not know until the day of the performance if their story will be included in the show. Regardless, all students receive their stories back with comments and feedback from the Story Pirates.

“The Reading Committee of the PRES PTA works with faculty to plan enrichment activities for the students,” Borsellino said. “It reached out to the Story Pirates to bring this program to PRES.”

The Story Pirates’ programs and professional development services for teachers are in place at over 150 schools from coast to coast. The writing workshops and assembly performances have been seen by hundreds of thousands of children in 16 states, and their movies on YouTube have been seen by millions. You can check out one of their videos at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjFyGwRcjdg&list=UUJ3X66g1o0gOcwAvTmZa0PQ&index=4&feature=plcp

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