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Krista Sifers READ 3355


In the article Many Ways of Knowing: Using Drama, Oral Interactions, and the Visual Arts
to Enhance Reading Comprehension by Linda Hoyt, several different creative methods for
improving reading comprehension are expressed. For example, in theater, students use their
entire bodies to create problem-solving strategies through improvisation. Drama stretches a
childs imagination because it creates the same necessity to deeply understand character roles
and motivations in the same way that reading does. However, drama can make these techniques
more easily accessible. Readers theater, then, combines drama and reading to link the ideas and
connections. Readers theater is a way to interpret a story that is physically written down in
words. However, unlike drama, the students can only rely on their voices to convey the kind of
emotions that drama allots the whole body for. The teachers role during readers theater is to
model expressive reading and to show that reading expressively allows for the story to be
brought to life. This is beneficial for all different types of sensory learners. Additionally, creative
constructs create an environment for oral interaction that, in Hoyts opinion, rarely occurs in the
classroom nowadays. Finally, visual arts allow children to explore the relationships beyond the
words, such as the images and feeling that come before them. The sketch and stretch
comprehension strategy may be used in visual artistry to improve reading comprehension as
well. This strategy uses visual images that the children draw in order to stretch their minds (to
recall as much information and detail as possible that is then sketched out). Her main claim is
that comprehension cannot be fostered by simply reading books (Hoyt, 1992, p.584). So, she
implies that in order to create a classroom that teaches comprehension effectively, performance
and visual art needs to be introduced.


Comprehension cannot be fostered by transmitting information form page to the
childrens heads or by drilling the children with questions. Learning occurs when one
creates a personal interpretation (Hoyt, 1992, p.584).
I love this quote. I love the idea of allowing students to create their own personal interpretations
with every text we read. That is why I am so excited that I was able to find this article and
combine my love of English application with theatrical performance. I plan to incorporate the
strategies presented in this article by:

Incorporating at least one unit in which we study a play. I will create an assignment while
we read the play that allows students to choose scene partners and act out a scene from
that particular play. I think that if the students are able to physically act out the dialogue
(or see it acted out), they will understand the text better and retain more information.

Apply readers theater at least once to every text that we read as a class. Again, the text
makes so much more sense when you can hear the dialogue presented differently from
the narration and can distinguish between multiple voices and characters.

Create an assignment, and possible using the sketch and stretch strategy, where the
students are able to illustrate part of a text that particular stood out to them in either a
positive or negative way. I might ask them to illustrate a part that they really enjoyed or a
part that they had trouble understanding. Either way, students are able to express
themselves in their work and better understand the text.

Hoyt, L. (1992). Many ways of knowing: using drama, oral interactions, and the visual arts to
enhance reading comprehension. The Reading Teacher, 45(8), pp. 580-584. Retrieved
from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20200932