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Using the Tools of Drama to Enrich Reading Experience

Posted on 07/31/20 by Elaine in Early Childhood

In Drama classes at The Music Settlement, we often read and recreate stories from books. One of my favorite activities is spending some extra time with the covers of our books. Let’s look at Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood.

When we look at the cover together, I ask the students questions to start them thinking about the setting of this story.

SETTING is a term used in drama to describe the world of the story. Setting includes location, time, weather, sounds, and what may have happened before our story started.

  • “What do you see when you look at this cover?”
  • “Can you tell where this story is taking place?” What the SETTING of this story is?”
  • “Do you think it is cold or hot or just right?”
  • “Are there any sounds in this place?

A CHARACTER in drama is a person, animal, being, thing or creature in a story.

Next, we can look at the CHARACTERS in our story:

  • “Do you see any characters in this picture?”
  • “What type of animal are our characters?”
  • “Are all of the characters alike?”
  • “What colors are the characters?”
  • “What kinds of sounds do these characters make?”

Then we can look at anything else on the cover: “What other things do you see in this picture?”

Remember - every child’s ideas are welcome and useful!

Let’s look at Driving my Tractor by Jan Dobbins and David Sim:

Step One, ask about the SETTING:

  • “What do you see when you look at this cover?”
  • “Can you tell where this story is taking place? What is the setting of this story?”
  • “What do you think the weather is like in this setting?”
  • “Are there any sounds in this place?

Step Two, ask about the CHARACTERS:

  • “Do you see any characters in this picture?”
  • “What types of animals are our characters?”
  • “Are there people in this story?”
  • “What kinds of sounds do these characters make?”

Then we can look at anything else on the cover:

  • “What other things do you see in this picture?”
  • “What sounds do these things make?”

After we look at the cover, we read the book. I continue to ask questions and make sure that the students get time to look at the pages. Sometimes, we make the sounds that we talked about, and pretend that we are in the settings that the stories are taking place.

I hope you enjoy this exercise! I really love reading and playing with your students!

Mrs. Feagler, TMS Drama Specialist


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