Skip to main content
Ed. Magazine

Book: A Reason to Read

A Reason to Read book cover

Reason to Read coverIn our modern world, literacy goes far beyond merely understanding and communicating simple messages with printed text. Not only has the way people communicate changed due to both new technologies and multimedia, but there have also been shifts in the use of the English language within different cultures. In their latest book, A Reason to Read, Eileen Landay, Ed.D.'94, and Kurt Wootton address what they call "new literacy," outlining a vision for classroom education that incorporates the full range of "multiliteracies" — texts and other art forms. This, they write, allows students to develop a range of skills and knowledge they can use to succeed.

The book represents a culminating work of the ArtsLiteracy Project, a project that develops curricula and professional development practices based on the premise that linking literacy and the arts creates powerful learning opportunities for students both in core academic subjects and in the arts. Founded in 1998 in the education department at Brown University, the primary curricular framework of the ArtsLiteracy Project is the "performance cycle," a flexible guiding structure for integrating arts and literacy practices across all disciplines. Over the course of eight chapters, A Reason to Read outlines each component of the performance cycle: building community, entering text, comprehending text, creating text, rehearsing and revising text, performing text, and reflection. Each chapter first describes how a particular element of the cycle can be applied in an educational environment and then concludes by presenting key activities that can be used in the classroom to demonstrate the concept and engage students. For example, for building community, students may engage in group or partner activities that allow them to share background information, abilities, and interests, whereas comprehending text may include theater simulations or Socratic seminars.

For more than a decade, Landay and Wootton have worked with the ArtsLiteracy Project to explore the intersection of arts and literacy development and the possibilities it holds for deeper education. This book serves to bring those findings to the classroom, with practical chapters that paint a picture for teachers and show how they can use art forms to inspire the student learning experience.

Ed. Magazine

The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Related Articles