Discover, Enjoy, Learn: Reviving excitement of reading literature through theatre.
School of Education at Duquesne University
Last modified: October 18, 2007
Presentation date: 07/21/2007 2:35 PM in Coast Hotel Bayside Room
“Reading is too complex a process to refer to it simply as decoding alphabetic print or making meaning of text” (Alvermann 4). Reading needs to be approached as the process of stimulating one’s imagination. Students need to comprehend literature with the intent of becoming motivated and engaged in literature for aesthetic enjoyment, as well as critical thinking and learning (Rosenblatt 1976; Sadoski & Paivio 2001; Sumara 2002). Through the use of theatre, the teacher and her students see reading as the process of activating their imaginations and then sharing what is seen, heard, smelled, and felt. Successful literary experiences stimulate our intellects, imaginations, and emotions. Successful theatre productions also stimulate our intellects, imaginations, and emotions. Gangi (1998) proposed: “An encounter with a theatre production has the potential to emancipate students who may not participate in their own educations in any other areas” (70). The literary/theatrical experience here goes beyond engaging students in creative dramatic exercises. Each group of students is participating in the process of adapting, interpreting, and designing a work of classical literature into a one-act play interpretation. With guidance from their teacher and a theatre director, the students will blend their scenes into an original, cohesive presentation that brings the literature to life for others to see, feel, and enjoy. Following the format of a three act play, we follow their experiences of reading and creating a theatrical adaptation of literature desgined to transform the frustrations and boredom of reading for adolescents into discoveries and excitement for everyone.