Correlating arts and reading instruction for accelerated achievement in emergent literacy
Keller, Candace Ann Burnside
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This study will observe how the incorporation of specific arts activities may support reading instruction and accelerate the progress of emergent readers. Through applications at the kindergarten level, this research will endeavor to document how systematic inclusion of arts activities may impart essential knowledge and skills directly related to language development and to early achievement in reading. Established and experimental programs have correlated instruction in the aesthetic arts and language arts with positive score gains in the upper primary grades. To determine if these same positive score gains might result from relating arts and reading curriculum at the kindergarten level, a two-year study was designed for a kindergarten classroom. Arts activities were selected from the areas of visual arts, music and theater, and related to the reading instructional material. In the visual arts area, activities in drawing, illustration and collage making were selected from district-approved curriculum guides and adapted to relate directly to the reading curriculum and instruction. Music activities in the form of songs, chants or raps, and rhythm-making activities were also correlated to the lesson planning material. Theater activities selected for inclusion in the study were storytelling, role-playing, and physical and verbal expression. To determine the validity and the significance of this correlation of arts activities and reading instruction, quantitative research methods were selected. The study was conducted with the same classroom teacher over two years in a district Title 1 school. To compare the progress of the treatment classroom to a greater population, scores generated from the TerraNova CTBS Complete Battery were collected from all public school kindergarten classes in the district. The TerraNova is a nationally normed standardized test, which includes three distinct categories which address literacy, including reading and oral comprehension, language and environmental print, sound/visual recognition, and word analysis. Quantitative measures in statistical analysis included in the study compared the mean of the treatment group with the mean of other classroom groups by using a calculated z-score and a p value at the .05 level of significance.