During July and August 2018, ArtsConnection engaged 5,000 English Learner (EL) students in grades 2-8 in 76 schools throughout all five boroughs during a five-week summer school program. Conducted in partnership with the NYC Department of Education’s Division of English Language Learners and Student Support, AC artists implemented a theater and puppetry curriculum based on our Developing English Language Literacy through the Arts (DELLTA) program aligned with Scholastic’s LitCamp texts.
Students dramatized one book at each grade level. Grade-level books include My Name is Yoon, Roadrunner’s Dance, Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People, That’s Not Fair! / ¡No es justo! and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions.
The NYC Department of Education offers families the summer program so students can continue to strengthen their English language literacy over the summer break. With our DELLTA instruction, ELs learned to build ensemble and collaboration skills through theater warm-up exercises, experienced theater activities that move from non-verbal, physical activities to more language dependent activities and honed their skills in physical, facial and vocal expression.
Research has shown that our DELLTA theater residency for ELs strengthens vocabulary, speaking and listening skills and supports social-emotional growth, allowing students to act out and internalize the elements of a story as a precursor for writing. According to independent research conducted over multiple years, the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) scores showed that in classes where teachers and artists participate in the DELLTA program, students progress in language acquisition at a higher rate than those in a matched comparison group.
DELLTA engages students in authentic arts-making experiences that provide opportunities for English learners to build literacy skills for comprehension and analysis; second language acquisition; knowledge across subjects by using ELA material as a jumping off point to bring text to life; and personal, social and cognitive skills intrinsic to the arts.