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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Building the oral language skills of K-2 English Language learners through theater arts

  • Author(s): Brouillette, Liane
  • et al.

The current focus on high-stakes testing has pressured schools to focus on a narrow range of literacy skills at the expense of oral language, vocabulary, and background knowledge. This article argues that theatre arts lessons can be an effective way for teachers to engage in rich verbal interactions with many children at once, providing feedback and building vocabulary. A K-2 theatre arts program initiated in the San Diego Unified School District is described, with links to on-line lesson plans and streaming videos of classroom instruction. Participants comment on the effect K-2 theatre activities had on classroom culture and student learning especially the literacy skills of English language learners. 

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