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ERIC Number: ED522094
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 175
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-4914-5
Using Theatre Arts to Enhance Literacy Skills at the Second Grade Level
McFadden, Pamela J.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of California, Irvine and University of California, Los Angeles
With budget cuts and the heavy emphasis placed in recent years on student achievement in language arts and mathematics, arts instruction has been greatly reduced in California elementary schools. Yet the research literature has shown arts instruction to be associated with improved literacy skills (Bransford & Schwartz, 1999). Podlozny (2002), identified six areas of literacy that have been positively correlated with arts instruction. This study investigated whether standards-based instruction in drama had a measurable impact upon student mastery of language arts, theatre arts, and cognitive skills. In the study nine drama lessons were implemented in a second grade classroom at a small elementary school in Orange County, California over a nine-week period. The 50-minute weekly lessons were presented to the treatment group by three teaching artists. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were utilized in the research. Qualitative data included student surveys, student focus groups, and pre and post teacher interviews. Quantitative measures included performance on two language arts assessments (the Paced Standards Assessment and the DIBELS Reading Assessment). The researcher observed each of the nine drama lessons, paying particular attention to three identified target students. An observation rubric was used to assess growth in six theatre strands. At the conclusion of the nine lessons, a student survey was completed by both treatment and control group students. A focus group was held with the treatment group students only. The qualitative findings suggested that treatment group students experienced a slight benefit in the listening and speaking areas of the Language Arts standards, as well as growth in vocabulary. Treatment group students also showed growth in meeting the theatre arts standards. The qualitative data suggested some changes in cognition, especially in higher level thinking, as well as enhanced oral language skills and more active student engagement. No significant difference was found between the control and treatment groups on the quantitative measures. However, the drama lessons were found to be rich in many crucial 21st century skills such as effective communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)