Date of Award

Winter 12-26-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Lynne Einbender

Abstract

This paper explores using theater to develop literacy and deepen the comprehension of literature for elementary aged students. Using Louise Rosenblatt’s (1994) framework for aesthetic reading, it discusses the ways in which theater facilitates the reader’s selection, interpretations, and analysis of plots, settings, and characters. This transactional relationship between the reader and text is explored with particular focus on the multi-sensory experiences in theater which support students’ perspective taking. In particular, it explores the visual and kinesthetic opportunities that theater offers to differentiate instruction for diverse learners. In addition, when children engage with theater as participants, they practice expression, building fluency as readers, and benefit socially from engaging in collaborative activities with their peers in a developmentally appropriate manner. Finally, a sample scene from a theatrical adaptation of Peter Pan is analyzed to show educators the opportunities available for building these skills with their students in the classroom or on a stage.

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