literacy through the arts: innovative way to improve reading fluency
This will surely interest homeschoolers and those interested in innovative education.
This information is from Beth Sussman:
I can pick out the weak readers in a class in about 30 seconds.....
As a Master Teaching Artist with the Los Angeles Music Center, I have been presenting artist in residency programs throughout Southern California for the past decade. Simply put, I generally go out to a school 10 times and see 4-5 classes in a day. As a Juilliard graduate, I use (mainly) classical music to teach, in a fun and hands on way, some of the more abstract concepts such as main idea, comparing and contrasting, author's purpose, etc. I call it covert learning, because the kids are having so much fun, they don't realize they're learning something! (Shhhh!)
Several years ago, teachers started telling me about how their elementary school students' reading fluency was going through the roof and that it had to be a result of my work. These teachers explained that their curriculum was the same in previous years, but without this fantastic result, and so I had to figure out why. It turns out that steady beat - that pulse that some music has that makes you want to tap your toes or clap your hands- has a direct correlation to reading fluency and therefore, comprehension. Wow!!
I came across several academic and scientific articles supporting this and a very recent article in the Journal of Neuroscience supports this as well. Here's a link to an LA Times article describing the study.
Unfortunately, so many preschools and kindergarten classes are pushing the kids to read before they have some of the necessary skills in place to decode. One of those skills is steady beat. (I'll be talking about another necessary skill for reading in my next blog). Many, many teachers tell me that there's no time to do poems or rhymes or dance or sing, when that is precisely what they should be doing to prepare emerging readers!
I'm currently working on a project that would provide free online animated and live action videos using the arts to improve literacy aimed at 4-8 year olds. Many young children don't have the opportunity to attend pre-school or Gymboree classes which might at least touch upon some of the sensory experiences kids should have before entering school. These videos, with their cute animated characters, would engage kids and have them participate in a variety of age appropriate arts activities.
I believe that education can be the great equalizer and that all children should have access to the arts. I've enlisted Emmy nominated writer/producer Bill Freiberger (Pee-Wee's Playhouse, The Simpsons) to executive produce and Josh Sussman (no relation) who is an actor on Glee and Wizard of Waverly Place to provide the voice of the main animated character, Joppity. (please see www.joppity.com to see the full array of cute and engaging characters). Bill and Josh, as well as talented editors, producers, etc, and I are all donating our time and talents to this project because the arts changed our lives.
I look forward to starting a dialogue about this and welcome questions and comments!