This year, the Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc. is collaborating with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading — with support from The Patterson Foundation — to bring reading to life through the arts during Emma E. Booker Elementary’s Summer Reading Enrichment Program.
Emma E. Booker Elementary teachers Jennifer Brusger, Deana Cheaves, Megan Mahoney and Robin Williams read with the first, second and third- grade students each day while teaching artists Judy Levine, Gladys Vargas, Mary Kelly and Laura Courter partner with the teachers to incorporate an arts-integrated approach that mitigates summer-learning loss for students.
Teaching artists add hands-on activities for the students to recreate their journey through the books. This journey has taken children “Under the Sea” to explore the creatures that live there. Students visited the circus “Under the Big Top” and were delighted with the characters that make us laugh and looked in awe as they fly high above. As students explored “Under the Rainforest” they learned the importance of protecting and conserving the environment. The students are creating books that will reflect on their personal interpretations of what they’ve read.
The teaching artists were pleased with the enthusiastic responses of the students and teachers to their arts-infused reading lessons. Many times they heard the teachers express delight as their students engaged in spontaneous verbal responses during the drama activities.
“The Patterson Foundation’s support through the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has provided a wonderful, positive experience with reading and arts integration for my first graders,” said Ms. C. “This experience has also has provided wonderful ideas to use in my language arts lessons.”
Students make connections and comprehend what they read through drama and art activities as a whole body and mind well-rounded experience. During the summer months, where some students can lose up to two months of reading achievement — learning through the arts is a win-win situation as students “PLAY” their way to building skills and learning.