From ‘Learning Through Drama in the Primary Years’ by David Farmer.

Drama is a close ally in the development of literacy. Speaking and listening skills are enhanced through drama strategies, role-play and improvisation and by the exchange of opinions and negotiation that naturally occur in group activities. Drama provides the context to improve writing skills, to develop realistic dialogue and to extend vocabulary. Improvisation and storytelling develop children’s understanding of narrative structure with a consequent impact on speaking and writing skills.

  • Group Work: Discussion encourages students to debate and share ideas, summarise the key points of a story or theme, analyse character behaviour and think about how best to communicate ideas both physically and verbally.
  • Reading and Listening to Stories: Drama strategies can be drawn on to deepen the understanding of characters and situations or to explore alternative outcomes. Stories can provide the launch pad for a one-off drama session or several weeks of work.
  • Language Learning: Drama is widely used in modern language learning to enable students to develop language skills through role- play. Many drama strategies lend themselves to language learning, such as ten second objects which can be used to reinforce new vocabulary.
  • Poetry has much more to offer than just the recitation of lines. Encourage the children to devise their own performances of poems, acting out narratives or bringing poetic images to life through still images, tableaux and soundscapes. Use teacher in role and role-play to deepen and explore issues raised in the poem.

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