Arts and Academic Achievement in Reading: Functions and Implications

By Richards, Allan G. | Art Education, November 2003 | Go to article overview

Arts and Academic Achievement in Reading: Functions and Implications


Richards, Allan G., Art Education


Academic achievement, particularly in reading, for some students in Fayette County Public Schools in Kentucky has been a concern (Honeycutt, 2000). Over the past 6 years, I have been working with an excellent classroom teacher, from the above school district, who has a passion for the arts and who has a deep respect for their power to enhance learning in different areas and disciplines. Along with parents and this classroom teacher, I have been assisting in the efforts to make students literate in the arts, which puts them in a good position to make connections to reading and writing concepts. At the end of the 1998-99 academic school year, test results show that approximately 90% of the kindergartners who were involved with the arts literacy strategy read on or above grade level. The following year, students in the Title One program showed remarkable improvement. Title One is a federally funded program that provides services to help socio-economically disadvantaged students, including teaching them how to read. Associating the arts with improving students' academic achievement is not a new phenomenon.

Arts and Students' Academic Achievement

Various studies have shown that the arts are successful in improving students' academic achievement in many areas, including reading. Catterall (1998), after analyzing data from the United States Department of Education, indicates that students who are involved in the arts score in the top 2 quartiles on standardized tests and have lower dropout rates than students who are not involved. Further, 10th graders who are involved in the arts score in the top 2 quartiles in reading, history, citizenship, and geography. A later study by Catterall, Chapleau, and Iwanaga (1999) suggests that the gains made by grades 8-10 students from arts involvement persist to 12th grade. Cooper-Solomon's (1995) research suggests that if the curriculum of a school would devote 25% or more of its school day to teaching the arts, students would have superior academic abilities. With no equivocation, April (2001) says, "...the arts do indeed increase students' achievement when achievement is conceived in rich and complex ways-authentic connections between the arts and the rest of learning..." (p. 26).

Other studies find that the arts do not improve students' academic achievement, but even in some of these studies there is indication that they do. Eisner (1998a) selects and analyzes several studies. He suggests that improving students' scores through the arts is inconclusive. Hetland and Winner (2001) analyze 188 reports and find some areas where arts involvement improve academic achievement and some areas where they do not have significant influences on academic achievement. In many of the areas where the results are not significant, there is evidence that the arts boost academic achievement, but the samples are too small to be reliable.

The Goal

Improving the academic achievement of students in reading is the goal for the arts literacy strategy. To achieve this, students are exposed to the different skills and values that the arts so naturally provide. During this process, the experiences gained are valuable in helping students establish connections to reading and writing concepts. The key to the success of the arts literacy strategy in helping students to make these critical connections to reading and writing concepts lies with the application of the arts.

Applying the Arts

When teaching kindergartners and first graders, the classroom teacher with whom I have collaborated uses one of the top research-based reading curricula that emphasizes phonemic awareness, decoding, comprehension, fluency, and writing skills (Adams, et al., 2000). To prepare the very young students to be observant, distinguish sounds, look for details, expand vocabulary and comprehension, recognize colors and shades, and enrich critical thinking skills, they begin the school year with the arts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Arts and Academic Achievement in Reading: Functions and Implications
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.