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Boosting language skills of ELLs through dramatization and movement

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

This article presents an arts integration program that uses drama and dance to promote foundational literacy skills, with an emphasis on the oral development of English Learners (ELs). Previous research indicates that arts activities afford a beneficial opportunity for young students to practice language skills, but many teachers have received scant training in the arts. The Teaching Artist Project (TAP) is a professional development program that helps classroom teachers use dramatization and creative movement to enhance comprehension and promote verbal interaction in the classroom. Children learn to imaginatively connect the decontextualized vocabulary of the classroom with their own experiences. A mixed methods study of TAP found that K-1 ELLs who participated in TAP showed improvements in early literacy skills compared with their peers. This article introduces approaches used in TAP, suggests sources of the language gains, and discusses strategies for successful implementation.

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