Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement
This report describes and examines the meaning and use of critical literacy in The Children’s Theatre
Company’s Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. Critical literacy is an orientation to reading
that includes an understanding of how texts (oral stories, books, media) position readers
(listeners/viewers), how readers position texts, and how texts are positioned within social, cultural,
historical, and political contexts. Critical literacy is central to the philosophy of Bridges, which
involves elementary and middle school students in storytelling and creative drama. An important
goal of the program is to develop in children the capacity to analyze and challenge dominant social
and cultural storylines as they create new storylines through imaginative retellings and reenactments.
Of particular interest in this report is how critical literacy is facilitated via various opportunities for
drama/creative play and Teacher Artist interactions with students during the four phases of a typical
Neighborhood Bridges session.
Lewis, Cynthia; Doerr-Stevens, Candance; Ingram, Debra.
Making the Body Visible through Dramatic/Creative Play: Critical Literacy in Neighborhood Bridges.
Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement.
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