The Stories First Foundation

Building a bridge to reading through stories first


Our foundation is building a bridge to reading through stories first. Learn more about our mission and projects.


Get to know our leadership team, organizational policies, and partner organizations.

Join Us

Help us create resources, support relevant research, and organize professional learning.


All we need is a teacher who can tell stories and a library full of books.
Beniko Mason
Founder and President

The Stories First Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting more books, more stories, and more joyful input in language classrooms. Founded in 2017, our mission is to support teachers in building a bridge to reading through stories first. Our projects provide professional development and support for classroom teachers. Our resources are solidly based on current research and theory, especially Krashen and Mason’s Optimal Input Hypothesis, the view that we acquire language and literacy when we understand rich, compelling messages.


Our Directors

Beniko Mason, President
Shitennoji University Junior College in Osaka, Japan

Stephen Krashen
University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California, USA

Kathrin Shechtman
Franconian International School in Erlangen, Germany

Claire Walter
Sevier County Schools in Sevierville, Tennessee USA

Ben Rose
Lu Jiang International School in Lukang City, Changhua County, Taiwan

María José Cabrera
West Chester University in West Chester, Pensylvania USA

Our Policies

The Stories First Foundation is inspired by teachers to meet the highest standards of professional and personal ethics. Beyond merely complying with all applicable laws and regulations, we act with honesty, integrity, and compassion. Learn more about our policies below.


Volunteer Opportunities

Stories First Readers


The Stories First Foundation is looking for volunteer artists to illustrate stories for future readers. Full-time art students and professional artists are encouraged to submit portfolios. Hours required vary but are extremely flexible. Artists may submit artwork as a no-commitment, one-time donation, or may prefer an on-going role.

Layout Designers

The Stories First Foundation is looking for volunteer layout designers who can help design 32 double-page spreads for our Stories First Readers. Experience with digital design and book layout design is required. Designers can work around their schedule and volunteer as little or as often as they are able. 

Great Story Reading Project


The Stories First Foundation is looking for volunteer editors of various languages. Some experience writing simplified text for language learners is required. Native-like speech is also helpful. This is an ongoing role but requires no more than a few hours a week at your convenience.


All language teachers are encouraged to share stories they have written on the Great Story Reading Project. No commitment required; share short or long texts that your students enjoy. Non-native speakers can also share imperfect texts, that our editors will later revise. To get started, create an account at: 

Organizational Support

Website Monitoring

Volunteers are needed for  monitoring of a VPS, domain and email services. This is an ongoing role but requires no more than a few hours a week. 

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