Teaching Literacy through Drama: Creative Approaches

Teaching Literacy through Drama: Creative Approaches

Teaching Literacy through Drama: Creative Approaches

Teaching Literacy through Drama: Creative Approaches


This book provides teachers of children at Key Stages 1 and 2 with a much-needed source of exciting and creative drama-based activities, designed to improve literacy. As useful for the drama novice as for the busy literacy co-ordinator, these flexible activities are designed to help teachers meet National Curriculum and National Literacy Strategy (NLS) requirements, particularly through speaking and listening. The book is divided into three parts: Part 1 looks at literacy and the power of drama as a 'brain-friendly' medium for teaching and learning. Part 2 contains ten structured, practical units of work, each based on a different story, poem, play or traditional tale or rhyme and each linked directly to the requirements and objectives of the NLS and the QCA objectives for speaking and listening. Part 3 contains photocopiable Literacy Support Sheets for teachers to use and adapt for their own classroom needs. All units of work have been tried and tested by the authors, giving teachers a springboard from which to enhance and extend their literacy lessons, and engage the imagination of their pupils. The book is also the ideal resource for student teachers.


The introduction of the National Literacy Strategy has spawned a number of publications that seek to provide accessible ways for teachers to enrich their literacy work with drama. In some cases, such books tend to adopt a simplistic view both of literacy and of the profound learning opportunities offered by drama. This book breaks the mould. It is written by two teachers with extensive personal experience of teaching both literacy and drama.

The ideas and structures in the book are based on a thorough and often critical understanding of the important pedagogical connections between literacy and drama. The book goes beyond giving advice on the 'delivery' of narrow objectives; it seeks to challenge and extend the quality and depth of learning both in drama and in literacy. Patrice and Kate have ensured that the contents of this book represent the cutting-edge both of theory and practice in drama and literacy and their approach is firmly underpinned by the findings of research in both fields and research into how we learn and how we learn differently.

The book is in three parts. In the first, the authors offer a very clear rationale for the drama/literacy connection. At the heart of this connection is a view of language which is rooted in the world, in the ways that language is actually used for real life purposes, motives and intentions. Language, in all its variety, is approached through the imagined and physical contexts of drama worlds in which children can concretely explore the mysteries of human communication. Through working in dramatic contexts the child is offered the opportunity to use language as it is used in real life rather than being constrained to the artificial and abstract registers of the classroom. In acquiring language, young learners are also offered opportunities to learn more about themselves, others who are different and the worlds, in which they live and grow.

This section will be useful to teachers in a number of ways. It provides a grounding in key understandings and principles, which will guide teachers in their practice and planning. It offers a very useful set of arguments and justifications for drama, which will be of value to teachers who need to advocate the importance of drama in their staffrooms. Part 1 will also give confidence to teachers whose desire is to teach beyond the standards and levels of accountability; it encourages and endorses creative, intellectually challenging and relevant teaching strategies.

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