Creating Bridges to Literacy through Puppetry

Puppetry and Early Childhood Literacy

The goal of the Puppetry and Early Childhood Literacy program is to enrich early elementary literacy curricula with lessons learned from a sequential puppetry curriculum (Pre-K through 5th grade) developed at PS 130 in Brooklyn where we have found that working in puppetry helps young children:

• build phonological awareness, word recognition and expand vocabulary
• develop listening comprehension and the ability to hear and predict story
• understand story sequence and the role of setting and character
• learn collaboration skills
• share their work with an audience

Current participants include:
75 teachers from 5 schools in Queens and their 1500 students in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades

Teachers learn to describe the artistic choices students make to create or adapt a story, design a setting and portray characters through vocal and physical expression. Descriptive feedback models thinking skills for students, helps students build their own descriptive language skills and become aware of the artistic choices they’re making.

Teachers also incorporate at least one strategy from puppetry into their literacy curriculum.

Each year, teacher teams work together in 50 hours of carefully-designed professional development:

• 4 full days of workshops at ArtsConnection
• 15 hours of modeling and mentoring by a puppetry artist in their classroom
• 7 hours of in-school meetings to plan and assess the work in the classrooms

As a result of this project, the school communities have changed because:

• Teacher teams have developed strategies and materials that demonstrate how they incorporate puppetry into their literacy curriculum
• Teachers have learned how to use video to:
o document student learning over time
o assess student learning with colleagues
o reflect on student learning with students
• Teacher teams have engaged in professional inquiry in order to improve teaching practice; the lessons learned in this project are applicable to other
inquiries into teaching and learning.

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