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ERIC Number: EJ962228
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
Bringing Literature to Life for Urban Adolescents: Artistic, Dramatic Instruction and Live Theater
Certo, Janine; Brinda, Wayne
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v45 n3 p22-37 Fall 2011
An innovative literacy/theater project implemented in two sixth-grade classrooms of a high-poverty, urban, western Pennsylvania middle school was designed to help urban teachers address aliteracy by engaging their students in the discovery of three young adult novels. The project was built on a partnership with a semiprofessional theater company that produced adaptations of the literature and designed instructional support materials to meet literacy challenges identified by research and the participating teachers. The authors of this article studied the teachers' perceptions of the lessons, as well as students' engagement with artistic, dramatic instruction and their responses to seeing theatrical adaptations of the literature. As a team, consisting of an external evaluator, the producer and director of the adaptations, and a graduate education major with a background in education and theater, they explored the question, what is the effect of artistic and dramatic instruction and live theater on reluctant readers' interest and learning? The year-long study examined how this program that blended reading, experiencing, seeing, and responding to multiple works of literature can help teachers address specific literacy issues of middle school, urban, reluctant readers. Another goal was to assess if this could be a model for all teachers to easily use when a theater presents literature or plays in a school's curriculum. Could the strategies also be adapted by teachers in schools that present musicals or theater productions to make theater experiences into literacy learning opportunities? The study demonstrated how artistic and dramatic instructional strategies are pathways to comprehension, engagement, and enjoyment. These results are essential to urban learners who often receive the worst kinds of instructional activities tied to standardized test scores and lack opportunities with the arts. The authors urge educators to include art and theater in conjunction with literature study in language arts classrooms. (Contains 2 figures and 20 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 6; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania