Our students spend a large part of each day studying content that seems unconnected to the stories in their lives. J. Lea Smith and J. Daniel Herring have discovered that drama is the perfect medium for making that connection. By integrating the dramatization of children’s literature into content studies, we allow students to show their interpretation of the characters, plot, and setting. Literature dramatizations then become the lens through which the content is viewed, enabling students to live the curriculum firsthand.

Smith and Herring begin Dramatic Literacy by explaining the several different roles drama can play in the classroom as well as the essentials of the art form. Two different approaches for structuring the dramatic experience are presented, followed by lots of helpful examples of both approaches in dramatizing a story in language arts, social studies, science, math, and second language instruction. The examples are soundly presented with objectives and focus questions organizing each lesson, clear descriptions of classroom procedures, and suggestions for final evaluation of the work.