What the Research Says
About Talking and Playing in Literacy Instruction
How do you balance the restless energy of children who have already
spent 7 hours trying to “be good” in school with expectations
that their participation in afterschool will lead to higher test
scores? If literacy is a component of your afterschool program, you
will be interested in the Afterschool Training Toolkit for literacy,
an online staff development tool created by the National Partnership
for Quality Afterschool Learning.
Staff at Northwest Regional Laboratory (NWREL), a partner in the
National Partnership, developed the materials in the literacy toolkit.
They have also supplemented the toolkit with a series of staff
development tools that are available online.
The staff development resources and the research on which they
are based make it clear that literacy in afterschool is not simply
an extension of the school day. Promising practices in literacy
include book discussion groups and story dramatizations. Research
has shown that discussing and enacting stories can improve student
literacy. These types of activities can also lay the foundation
for continuous improvement by creating a greater interest in
The next time you are faced with a talkative group of students
who literally won’t stay seated, remember that what first looks
like mayhem can actually be a sign of student engagement in learning.
See Recommended Resources (above) for additional information.
* Winner, E., & Hetland, L. (2000,
Fall/Winter). The arts and academic achievement: What the evidence
shows. Executive summary. The Journal of Aesthetic
Retrieved February 22, 2007, from http://www.pz.harvard.edu/Research/Reap/REAPExecSum.htm;
Spielberger, J., & Halpern, R. (with Pitale, S., Nelson, E.,
Mello-Temple, S., Ticer-Wurr, L., et al.). (2002). The
role of after-school programs in children’s literacy development. Chicago: University
of Chicago, Chapin Hall Center for Children.