It has been 25 years since Maryellen Rooney Moreau, M.Ed. CCC-SLP created the Story Grammar Marker® at her kitchen table and piloted it at the Curtis Blake Day School in Springfield, Massachusetts. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Maryellen was Curriculum Director and co-taught at the Curtis Blake Day School.
One day, while co-teaching a writing lesson with third grade children with dyslexia and language learning disabilities, an eight-year-old boy approached Moreau with his conventional “beginning, middle and end” graphic organizer. He had tears in his eyes and said, “I don’t know what to put in my boxes—I never know what to do with my boxes!”
Inspired by this interaction and cognizant of research and experience in language development and early literacy, Moreau designed a hands-on, multi-sensory tool to assist this boy to tell his story. Made of yarn with icons signifying the elements in a story episode, the tool became known as the Story Grammar Marker®—because it helped children to “mark” the parts of the story (story grammar/narrative structure).
With colleagues Carolyn West, Ph.D., and Holly Fidrych, M.S., CCC-SLP, Moreau field-tested the tool at the day school and other local public schools. Moreau and Fidrych co-authored How To Use The Story Grammar Marker®, A Guide for Improving Speaking, Reading and Writing Skills Within Your Existing Program to help educators and specialists to learn to use the Story Grammar Marker® (SGM®) tool.
In 1991, Moreau patented the SGM® and founded MindWing Concepts, Inc., three years later to share this methodology with educators and children.
During the next 20 years, MindWing Concepts, Inc. has published more than 17 books and manuals and has developed more than 30 hands-on tools based on this methodology. The Story Grammar Marker® and related tools are in the hands of over a million of children world-wide and Maryellen is an internationally recognized professional development presenter.
In 2014, she received the Alice H. Garside Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Dyslexia Association, Massachusetts Branch (MABIDA) for exemplary leadership, service or achievement in the area of helping children with dyslexia and language learning disabilities.