The role of drama in the literate classroom
The standards of children’s reading and writing have always been high on the agendas of schools and governments. Most parents also automatically expect their children to become literate. In the past, these concerns have been predominantly concerned with acquisition, achievement and literature (Street 1994) and have ignored the fact that literacy practices in our society reach far beyond the reading and writing of fiction. To a certain extent, the National Literacy Strategy (DfEE 1998) addressed this through the extensive inclusion of a range of nonfiction texts as well as ensuring a variety of fiction genres. Likewise, more recently, the importance of speaking and listening has been revisited and reintroduced more prominently into the curriculum (DfES 2003a). The importance of early oracy activities, particularly for boys, and their influence on later reading development, is well documented (for example, Wragg et al. 1998; CCEA 1999; Clipson-Boyles 2000). Not only are speaking and listening an integral part of thinking and learning, they also feed, and are fed by, the processes of reading and writing.