Using Play Activities to Increase Comprehension

For my undertaking I wanted to concentrate on an country that involved some kind of pupil play/interaction. I teach Pre-K so most of what my pupils do is through geographic expedition utilizing haptic procedures. My pupils truly bask books and I can state when I ‘m reading that they are wholly engaged in what ‘s to come. Through observation of my pupils I besides know that they enjoy moving out assorted things while they are at centres. Since some of my childs seem to hold problem with comprehension and retrieving cardinal information from the book I thought that conveying the book to life might be helpful for those fighting.

Background/Class Information:

I teach at SGA Elementary School in Sardis, GA which is located in Burke County. This school has grades Pre-K through 5th. There is 1 principal, 1 frailty principal, 1 instructional coordinator, 1 counsellor, 1 medical helper, 1 office director and 2 office forces. The school is comprised of 33 schoolrooms, including the resources: art, physical instruction, and music. Grades Pre-K through 3rd all have a paraprofessional in each room and 4th and 5th portion a drifting paraprofessional between the grades/classes.

This school is in a really rural portion of the county. Income degrees are really low and most parents suffer from high unemployment. If parents do work it is for a low paying/minimum pay occupation. Because of this factor all pupils are served a free breakfast and tiffin everyday at school. Pre-k besides receives a bite at the terminal of the twenty-four hours that is provided by our lunchroom.

At this school there are 401 entire pupils. There are a sum of 186 females with the cultural dislocation including: 3 Hispanic, 4 multi-racial, 71 White, and 108 Black. For the males, there are a sum of 215 including: 4 Hispanic, 4 Multi-racial, 77 White, and 130 Black. Since we do hold several households in our school that are Latino the school recognizes that there is a linguistic communication barrier. We have a transcriber who can be used in order to assist do communicating easier for them every bit good as ourselves. Most households have household members who can assist and they will come to events in order to help them. In my schoolroom I have 1 Latino pupil. She began the twelvemonth talking broken English and has now progressed, but still gets hung up on a few thoughts. Her male parent speaks really small English with a strong speech pattern and her female parent speaks no English at all. When he needs to talk to me or I need to talk to him about his kid they prefer to utilize their girl to assist with interlingual rendition. The parents said that made them more comfy to utilize her so I have ne’er had to use the services of our transcriber, but the linguistic communication barrier truly has n’t been excessively large of an issue. In my schoolroom I have 20 pupils. It consists of 11 misss and 9 male childs. For the misss I have 3 White, 7 Black, and 1 Hispanic. I have 6 White male childs and 3 Black male childs.

In my schoolroom it is myself and a paraprofessional. She has been in a Pre-K schoolroom for 5 old ages. We reasonably much have an equal distribution as to what we do, how we do it, and how things get accomplished. I teach the bulk of the clip, but there are times in which she will learn calendar. She ever assists when we are in a big group puting and making an activity during that clip. We portion a joint function in carry oning little group. I have created groups based on degree. We decide what needs the pupils have and seek to come up with activities to assist them pattern so they can get down acquiring better at them. This is the country in which I can see the pupils profiting from the most because they are able to acquire our one-on-one attending and we, in bend, are able to truly concentrate on them and assist them where they struggle. Or if we see that they can make a undertaking with easiness we give them something to dispute them. Needs are tweaked harmonizing to the groups.

Action Research Question:

The focal point of my undertaking was based on the inquiry: if after reading narratives aloud to my pupils I give them different avenues to research the narratives during centre clip will this assist them develop a better apprehension for what is read? As I mentioned earlier, I knew this was the country I needed to concentrate on since some of my pupils had problem with comprehension. I do n’t cognize really many childs who do n’t bask playing either so integrating it with something active seemed best. Even while carry oning my research I did n’t hold any countries of my inquiry that needed to be changed.

Supporting Datas:


Students ‘ chief exposure to books in a pre-k schoolroom is to nursery rimes and authoritative narratives. Nursery rhymes present the footing for a narrative: a character, an event and an stoping ( GSU, 2008 ) . Students besides gain understanding through the beat and repeat. With authoritative narratives, pupils are able to larn the difference between fact and phantasy every bit good as understanding the construction of a book ( GSU, 2008 ) . This manner, there is a clear beginning, center and terminal for the pupils. A instructor should learn one rime a hebdomad, highlight one a month, integrate a rime into a unit and promote kids to move out the narrative or rime by supplying chances at big group and/or centre clip ( GSU, 2008 ) . To advance narrative comprehension and enjoyment, pulling and treatment are widely practiced and accepted in simple schools, but a 3rd less frequently adept manner to follow up reading to kids is dramatic drama ( Galda, 1982 ) . Children connect books to play by actively seeking for book-related playthings and props in order to back up comprehension through set uping a more concrete appreciation on thoughts. Book-related make-believe drama represents a richer method of supervising pupils ‘ apprehension of narratives, traveling beyond the typical inquiries and simple retellings ( Welsch, 2008 ) . A focal point on drama around familiar narratives and literature capitalizes on the plot lines that define pretend strategies ( Welsch, 2008 ) . Literacy related activities allow kids to polish their turning constructs of the maps of written linguistic communication and supply valuable, extremely meaningful pattern with emergent reading and authorship ( Christie, 1991 ) . Within an early childhood schoolroom, book-related make-believe drama could be considered an equal chance experience, in which every pupil can set on the chapeau, pick up the fork, travel in the house, and enter the universe of the narrative ( Welsch, 2008 ) . Recognizing that a kid acquires linguistic communication through active engagement and that literature provides rich linguistic communication theoretical accounts, storytelling and retellings is an first-class technique for furthering growing in linguistic communication and increasing comprehension ( Biegler, 1998 ) .

Implementation Ideas:

“ Preschool and kindergarten schoolrooms, even those specifically designed as intercessions for kids at hazard of reading troubles, must be designed to back up cognitive, linguistic communication, and societal development, including exciting verbal interaction and enriching kids ‘s vocabularies. Play affords kids chances to develop physical, societal, and cognitive abilities that will function them subsequently in non-play state of affairss ” ( Christensen and Kelly, 2003 ) . There are a figure of things that can be done in a schoolroom to increase a pupil ‘s comprehension. The chief manner is through dramatic drama. Using props and other stuffs makes the narratives come to life. Teachers can first supply a assortment of rereading experiences: spouse reading, Readers Theatre, echo reading, choral reading, shared reading, single reading ( Hicks, 2009-2010 ) . All of these things help with eloquence and increase comprehension. Play activities are the centre of immature pupils ‘ zones of proximal development, where new cognition is gained through societal interactions with more competent participants and, while feigning, pupils translate their perceptual experiences of the existent universe into the actions that create and define the universe of drama ( Welsch, 2008 ) . On their ain and by their ain choosing, pupils may utilize this type of drama to research the most cardinal intent of literacy, the building of significance ( Welsch, 2008 ) . High-level drama is widely recognized as an instructional scheme that builds linguistic communication, vocabulary, and underlying cognitive accomplishments necessary for kids to go successful readers and authors ( Christensen and Kelly, 2003 ) . Children pattern verbal and narrative accomplishments that are of import to the development of reading comprehension and instructors can help the linguistic communication and literacy development through high-ranking drama in the undermentioned ways: 1. ) triping or developing kids ‘s background cognition for the drama scene, 2. ) scaffolding the building of scenarios and retellings, 3. ) going involved in drama scenes to steer the kids ‘s attending and larning through mold and interaction, 4. ) supplying the appropriate sum of unequivocal and narrative props, and 5. ) supplying clip and infinite for high-ranking drama ( Christensen and Kelly, 2003 ) . Research has demonstrated that use of the schoolroom drama environment through physical agreement of drama centres, inclusion of literacy-related stuffs ( pencils, paper, typewriter, etc. ) , and dramatic drama props can impact the quality and assortment of a kid ‘s unwritten linguistic communication usage, battle in literacy behaviours, and narrative comprehension ( Monson and Nielsen, 1996 ) . Some narratives lend themselves to the usage of marionettes, felt-boards and still others can be developed as prop narratives which make storytelling semen alive, exciting the imaginativeness and affecting the hearer ( Biegler, 1998 ) .

Research Findingss:

Assorted surveies have been done as to whether or non these signifiers of active engagement work. Analysiss of cases where drama was related to the significances of the books the kids had read indicated that each case of book-related dramatic drama could be described in footings of six belongingss including ( a ) the range of drama, ( B ) the type of connexion constructed between books and drama books, ( degree Celsius ) kids ‘s intents for drama, ( vitamin D ) the position or point of position explored, ( vitamin E ) the mark systems used and their relation to book reading events, and ( degree Fahrenheit ) the sorts of societal interaction involved ( Rowe, 1998 ) . Rowe ( 1998 ) besides noted that analyses demonstrated that the kids created direct linkages between their book and drama experiences. Children ‘s book-to-play connexions involved: linking books to the universe of objects by turn uping and keeping book-related playthings and props, personal response to books through dramatic passages of feelings and actions, take parting in book-reading events through the character of a make-believe character, aesthetic reenactments of book events, screening out the writer ‘s significances through drama, character surveies and utilizing book subjects and characters as springboards for personal enquiries about the universe ( Roskos and Christie, 2000 ) . Authors Pellegrini and Galda noted the importance of the equal interaction and the good facets of make-believe as lending to pupils ‘ increased ability to understand the narrative ( Welsch, 2008 ) . The Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children clearly saw high-ranking drama as an instructional scheme that Fosters literacy development and future reading success in which kids reflect on state of affairss through dramatisation ( Christensen and Kelly, 2003 ) . In a survey done by Deborah Rowe she suggested that there are a figure of features of the drama observed in her survey that may hold provided both motive and chance for the immature kids ‘s literacy acquisition: connexion, ownership, flexibleness, openness, multiple mark systems, transmediation and community ( Rowe, 1998 ) . The consequences from Bieglers ‘ survey was that kids exhibited greater comprehension and narrative memory by utilizing dramatic narrative reenactment than those who reconstructed narratives in instructor led direction and art activities and narrative related comprehension was most efficaciously facilitated by prosecuting in fantasy drama and retellings ( Biegler, 1998 ) .

Jodi Welsch wrote an article in 2008 entitled, Playing within and beyond the narrative: encouraging book-related make-believe drama. In this article there are many good points covering with pupils playing and groking information. Welsch ( 2008 ) stated that kids connect books to play by actively seeking for book-related playthings and props in order to back up comprehension through set uping a more concrete appreciation on thoughts. Book-related make-believe drama represents a richer method of supervising pupils ‘ apprehension of narratives, traveling beyond the typical inquiries and simple retellings because a focal point on drama around familiar narratives and literature capitalizes on the plot lines that define pretend strategies ( Welsch, 2008 ) . Two writers, Pellegrini and Galda are quoted in Welsch ( 2008 ) observing the importance of the equal interaction and the good facets of make-believe drama as lending to pupils ‘ increased ability to understand the narrative. Play activities are the centre of immature pupils ‘ zones of proximal development, where new cognition is gained through societal interactions with more competent participants and, while feigning, pupils translate their perceptual experiences of the existent universe into the actions that create and define the universe of drama ( Welsch, 2008 ) . On their ain and by their ain choosing, pupils may utilize this type of drama to research the most cardinal intent of literacy, the building of significance ( Welsch, 2008 ) .

Plan and Timeline:

Execution of this scheme took topographic point over a 10 twenty-four hours span in my schoolroom from February 1st through the 12th. I taught a unit on nursery rimes one hebdomad and faery tales/tall narratives during the other hebdomad. I eased my category into the alterations during our unit clip as we discussed the narratives. The manner it was introduced to my pupils and carried out is as follows:

-Monday ( 2/1 ) : The unit for the hebdomad is Nursery Rhymes. I introduced what a baby’s room rime was, elements that it contained, and talked about riming words.

-Tuesday ( 2/2 ) : I read “ Humpty Dumpty ” to my category. We talked about all the words that sounded likewise in the verse form. They so did an activity where they drew what Humpty Dumpty might ‘ve been if he had n’t fallen off of the wall. I added this felt board narrative to our marionette centre in the loft.

-Wednesday ( 2/3 ) : Today we talked about “ Mary had a Small Lamb. ” I foremost played the vocal and most of the childs recognized it and sang along. I so read it to them and added the book and music to the hearing centre.

-Thursday ( 2/4 ) : I talked about the baby’s room rime, “ Jack be Agile. ” I had a little taper holder with a taper in it and I had my childs take bends stating the rime and jumping over the candle stick. After the lesson was over I put the candle holder in our dramatic drama country.

-Friday ( 2.5 ) : The concluding baby’s room rime we covered was “ 5 Small Ducks. ” We discussed how this utilised math and numbering backwards/down. As we read the narrative I had 5 pupils keeping a duck and each clip one went off I had the pupil sit down. I besides played this on a Cadmium and the pupils took turns moving it out with the ducks. The Cadmium was added to the music centre. Five ducks were placed in music as props and the other ducks were placed in math as manipulatives.

-Monday ( 2/8 ) : This started the hebdomad in which I introduced fairy narratives and tall narratives. I started out by giving different scenarios and the pupils had to assist me calculate out if it was the truth or a story. I so explained the elements of these types of narratives and had the pupils create one of their ain through a drawing. My paraprofessional and myself dictated their responses.

-Tuesday ( 2/9 ) : I started by reading Cinderella. I wanted pupils to assist me foretell what would go on following since I figured this was a familiar narrative to them. I added a Cinderella costume and a suit coat to the dramatic drama country.

-Wednesday ( 2/10 ) : Today I read “ The Elvess and the Shoemaker. ” After discoursing the book I had pupils pull what they would make to assist people if they were charming elves. My paraprofessional and myself dictated their responses.

-Thursday ( 2/11 ) : “ Small Red Riding Hood ” was discussed today. I talked about aliens and asked pupils if they thought this could truly go on. The book and tape for this narrative was placed in the hearing centre.

-Friday ( 2/12 ) : To stop the hebdomad I read “ The 3 Small Pigs. ” I had the pupils help me foretell what would go on to each house and each hog as we went through the book. I added gum elastic hog noses to the dramatic drama country every bit good as the felt board narrative to the marionette centre in the loft.

-*All books from both hebdomads were kept out on my bookcase so pupils could utilize them during independent clip or if they chose the reading centre.


During this procedure I monitored pupils as I read and as they chose centres. While watching them as I read I looked to see if they were reacting to voices, certain parts of the book and if they were replying the inquiries I asked at different points throughout reading. This helped me cognize right off the chiropteran if they were groking or non. This besides helped me do note of who I could watch during centres to see if they utilized any of the points I placed around the room after reading the books. I was surprised because the bulk of those that seemed lost during me reading the book frequently selected reading or hearing and selected those books we had talked about. I could hear them reading out loud and utilizing the images in the book to assist steer them so they could state what was go oning. They would acquire excited when they would acknowledge that was something I had shared with them and it seemed to intend more to them than merely picking a book at random. It was amusing to watch pupils at the hearing centre excessively because they would hold their earphones on and be in the quiet zone, but all of a sudden you would hear them get down stating the narrative out loud. In the dramatic drama country all of the props and costumes were the first things anyone grabbed. There were a few who would set on the Cinderella costume and say that she was a princess and drama in it, but there were others who would have on it and truly acquire into moving out the narrative. I do n’t hold many male childs that go to the dramatic drama country because aside from dress-up apparels it is largely used by the misss as the housekeeping country. There was one male child that struggles to grok narratives and he selected dramatic drama everyday after we read Cinderella and he would travel over at that place and set on the suit and feign to be Prince Charming. He did a great occupation at reciting assorted things that happened so he truly benefited from the excess support. The last country I added things in was our marionette centre in the loft. The pupils truly enjoyed the felt board narratives. I have had felt board stories up at that place all twelvemonth and I can merely remember two times in which they have been used. After reading the narratives and adding them to that centre everyone that went up at that place used the pieces to recite the narratives. It was incredible to me since it had seldom been used in the yesteryear that they would utilize it every bit much as they did and every bit efficaciously as they did. One thing that truly stood out to me was pupils who would choose the authorship and art centres. While in these centres about all of the pupils over the two hebdomad span brought me something they had created and told me it was a certain portion from one of the books we had discussed. I thought that was neat because even though I had n’t added anything new for them to utilize they still utilized the stuffs they had to demo their enjoyment and comprehension of the narratives.


Throughout this procedure I did several things in order to roll up informations and do observations. As I mentioned in the subdivision above, I foremost watched the pupils as I read/introduced the book and made a mental note of who I was most funny to watch during halfway clip. Then during centre clip I circulated the room and listened to student treatments as they played. The bulk of them, at least for a part of the clip exhausted playing, related in some manner to the books we had discussed. If I saw pupils dressed up as a character, stating a felt board narrative or listening/reading one of the books we had talked about I would acquire my camera and snarl some images. I video recorded several pupils reciting nursery rhymes on the felt board every bit good as a group in dramatic drama re-enacting the ball from “ Cinderella. ”


I feel that this procedure was an utmost success and thoroughly replies a resonant yes to my research inquiry. I was really pleased at the overpowering response by my pupils to the props that were accessible to them. The chief intent of my end was to see if this helped more with comprehension and I can state that it truly did. I have several pupils who ca n’t state me anything about a narrative after it is read and those are some of the 1s I focused on watching. They all, at some point or another, chose a centre and selected an activity within that centre entirely because they recognized it from our readings. All of them were able to state at least a portion of the narrative, if non all of a narrative, when utilizing the props. This is decidedly something that I will go on to make every bit much as possible in order to go on to assist those pupils who struggle to grok. For those that can grok good it will go on to function as added support for their content cognition.