2010-11-24 / Education

Improv, Theater, Dance…Oh My!

Civic Theater Youth help DES students improve reading skills
By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

Can you hear me now? DES students portray the components of a telephone with members of the Civic Theater of Greater Lafayette Youth Players. The project is designed to help students improve reading skills. Comet photo by Debbie Lowe Can you hear me now? DES students portray the components of a telephone with members of the Civic Theater of Greater Lafayette Youth Players. The project is designed to help students improve reading skills. Comet photo by Debbie Lowe The Delphi Community Elementary School staff is not opposed to thinking outside of the box to help their students improve reading scores. The school recently partnered with Civic Theater of Greater Lafayette to bring youth director Melanie Buchanan and 13 players to the school to help with that effort. The program, funded by a Target grant, is a service provided by Civic Theater’s Youth Troupe. “This project will provide students with experiences that enhance academic performance,” firstgrade educator Melissa Gill said Friday. “Theater techniques support reading comprehension strategies and fluency.”

Buchanan explained that Civic Theater offers the learning experiences using youth actors. Those present Friday attend West Lafayette, Lafayette and Tippecanoe County school corporations. One player is homeschooled.

DES students were encouraged to use characterization and assume emotions such as excited, nervous or paranoid, which they displayed physically. They worked in groups to portray a machine, by becoming the parts of the machine as a whole in front of their classmates. They then made the machine ‘work.’ Their fellow students were asked to guess what machine was being portrayed. Gill said research indicates that using elements of the arts as an instructional tool, positively improves student fluency, creativity and overall reading ability.

Gill said a Readers Theatre and a performance with the actors will also be hosted at the school during the 2010- 2011 school year.

Information about the Civic Theater can be found at www.lafayettecivic.org.

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