Published on May 27, 2022 | SI Advance | Written by Carol Ann Benanti
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — In recognition of Sundog Theatre’s dedication to improving literacy on Staten Island, the executive board of the Staten Island Reading Association has selected Sundog to receive the 2022 Literacy Advocate Award.
The honor has been bestowed because of their “involvement in helping to create and support literacy programs throughout the Island, especially for its children and needy families, increasing literacy and raising awareness of its importance.”
The Champions of Literacy Award Dinner is set for Wednesday, June 8 at 4:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomfield.
Throughout the years, Sundog has supported literacy through a number of school arts programs.
Sundog’s 3-D Literacy program was developed in 2013 with support from the Staten Island Foundation, where the program introduces novel concepts of learning grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary through the discipline of theater.
Developed by Sundog teaching artist Richard Grunn, 3-D Literacy is based on research about how the brain learns best. Program exercises are tailored to teach literacy in an interactive way and have helped raise reading scores from 2 – 10 levels in a large majority of participants.
“Sundog is honored to receive the 2022 Literacy Advocate Award,” says Susan Fenley, Sundog’s executive director. “There is a form of literacy in all the arts: theater, dance, music, and visual arts. Theater, however, encourages children to read plays, books, and research materials, bringing information to life through interpretation and acting. For most children, adding an artistic focus gives the intellectual component added meaning and applicability. This is especially relevant after learning losses due to COVID.”
Also receiving awards for Outstanding Teacher of Literacy are the following educators: Ann Devito, The Staten Island School of Civic Leadership, PS 861 (retired), Kerryanne Malvino, Prall Intermediate School (IS 27), Amanda Guarino, New Dorp High School, Dawn Guerriero, Monsignor Farrell High School, Lindsay Montana, Susan Wagner High School, Ryan Murphy, Paulo Intermediate School (IS 75), Nicole Perez, PS 16, Sally Roccaro, Staten Island Academy, and Caroline Esposito Russo, PS 11.
The Staten Island Reading Association was formed to stimulate and encourage the professional growth of literacy educators, advocate for the literacy needs of children, adults, families, and literacy educators, and encourage networking and an exchange of information within its community and other professionals and their organizations.
Sundog Theatre is a Staten Island-based performing arts organization, formed in 2002, that provides contemporary and original theater for adults and children, educational touring shows, acting classes for young people, and programs that bring teaching artists into schools to support curricula through the arts that help make learning come alive.