Posted in GAP News, Mississippi Art News

ARTSEDGE: Stories Brought to Life

This week’s featured lesson from ArtsEdge, the Kennedy Center’s educational media site, explores a common question in teaching the arts: how to give feedback to your students. This helpful overview is a Tipsheet on their How To section. Learn more about Stories Brought to Life after the jump!
Stories Brought to Life: Leading an interactive read-along

Participating in interactive read-alouds can boost students’ comprehension skills and language development far more than just passively listening to a story read by the teacher. Providing interactive read-alouds for your students isn’t difficult, it just requires some prior planning. Use these suggestions to make your next read-aloud an exciting, skill-building adventure!

Bringing the Story to Life: Take a close look at the story you are planning to use for your interactive read-aloud. Consider each each of the following areas as you prepare your reading. Look for ways to include students as well as ways to improve your own reading.

Voice Tones Make a list of each character who speaks in the book. Develop a voice for each one that reflects the qualities of that character that you want to convey. You can even use this technique for non-dialogue portions of the story. For example, every time the story talks about the bear, use the bear voice.

Gesture Gesture is a non-verbal expression of meaning. Perhaps certain characters have physical mannerisms that you can incorporate into your telling of the story. Ask students to mimic the gestures you make during the story. This is especially effective if they are repetitious.

Sound Effects This is likely to be the most fun for your students. Look for places in the story where you can ask students to help you with sound effects. Weather, animals, and vehicle noises are a great place to start, but look for other sounds hiding in the narrative like footsteps and sounds made by evryday use of objects.

Movement Students spend a lot of time sitting still, especially during read-alouds. Finding ways that they can move during stories can increase their level of concentration. Some ideas include: swaying arms for wind or movement of trees, imitating an action from the story using modified movement, and using movement to help a character do something in the story.

Rhythms Finding rhythms in some stories can be difficult, but it is worth the search. Walking and running make good rhythms, but look for ways to build new rhythms into stories, too. Animal noises and other sounds like vehicles can be made to a rhythm of your choosing.

Building Comprehension and Language Development: Getting your students involved in telling the story is not only more fun, it also increases students’ interest levels, allowing you to incorporate skill-building components with greater success. Here are some teachniques to try:

Vocabulary As you plan your reading, locate vocabulary words that are critical for students’ understanding of the story. Define those words as you read the story in class.

Re-telling the story Ask students to re-tell the story after you read it and even the next day. You can also have students work in groups to dramatize the story and present it to the class.

More than one reading Consider reading the story more than once. Wait a day or two between readings and ask different questions each time you read it.

Asking questions Choose the questions that you will ask students both during and after the reading carefully. Comprehension questions are important, but try to include questions that require students to make assumptions and inferences. Be sure to word your questions so that answers are longer than one or two words.

Moving beyond reading Think about ways to move the story into other lessons. Is there a science, math, or social studies component that you could incorporate into your lessons? You might also choose to provide play objects related to the story for students to use.

Planning interactive read-alouds takes time, but the rewards are great for both teacher and student. Have fun planning your next interactive read-aloud!

via ARTSEDGE: Stories Brought to Life.



The mission of the Greenville Arts Council is to promote the rich cultural heritage of the region and stimulate and encourage cultural activities, arts appreciation, arts education, and the creative works of artists. Some of the responsibilities that help define the Greenville Arts Council as the primary promoter of the arts in our area include offering art classes to children and adults, organizing community events, presenting an ongoing series of free exhibits featuring visual artists from the area and the state, and coordinating educational programs which teach arts-integration in local schools. The Greenville Arts Partnership between the Greenville Arts Council, the Greenville Public School District and our three community arts partners, Delta Center Stage, Delta Symphony Association and the Delta Children’s Museum, is focused on full arts integration in the GPSD elementary schools. Plentiful research documents the value of the teaching in and through the arts to help students understand core academic concepts on a deep level. The partnership was the first in the state of Mississippi accepted into the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program in 2003, joining over 100 other partnerships between school districts and arts organizations across the country. The partnership provides professional development for teachers, arts experiences for students and resource and referral on arts integration issues. Professional development has been provided in two ways, through workshops with Teaching Artists from the Kennedy Touring Roster and grade-level and/or discipline-specific professional development with our local staff. We present a series of model demonstration lessons to teachers in grades K to 6, demonstrating connections between Partnership free arts programming and required state frameworks. The partner arts groups present a series of live performances allowing each elementary child in the GPSD to attend at least once each year. The groups work with the Arts Council staff to develop accompanying curriculum-based educational material for distribution to teachers prior to each performance. Over the years, we have succeeded in providing basic arts integration training district-wide as well as in-depth professional development to allow groups of teachers to increase their level of mastery.