Pupils as Playwrights

Drama, Literacy and Playwriting

December 2008
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    22nd December 2008
  • ISBN 9781858564272
  • Language English
  • Pages 207 pp.
  • Size 6.75" x 9.75"
  • Images illus

Named as a 2009 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice

This is an innovative and exciting approach to drama and to developing the literacy skills of children from the ages of 6 to 12. It is especially timely now that creativity and particularly drama is being recognized as so important in pupils’ development.

The book: makes explicit links between literacy, drama and the development of speaking and listening skills; presents case studies of developed process drama, noting what might be expected of children at different stages in their development; offers extensive practical exercises and activities; suggests models for planning further work; provides photocopiable material which can be used with children; and gives advice on how to develop similar materials with pupils.

"Woolland provides teachers with a powerful tool to develop students' literacy skills. It is based on the premise that writing drama addresses literacy in the broadest sense. When students write drama they employ reading, writing, speaking, and listening with attention to voice, register, tone, and narrative structure. The author utilizes "process drama," emphasizing exploration through structured play and small classroom improvisation, rather than performance for an audience. This process is designed for teachers who have no background in drama and work with students from 6 to 13 years old. The five chapters in the "Play(ful) Writing" section cover key elements of playwriting; dialogue, character, story, nonliteral meanings, and observation. The "Practical Projects" section gives teachers nine age-appropriate playwriting suggestions that are well detailed without becoming prescriptive. This section starts with a familiar tale for the youngest students, Jack and the Beanstalk, and uses Forum Theatre methods where the teacher takes a role along with the student; it ends with a project for the oldest students, The Fall of Troy, that provides more complex characters, action, and story line. Teachers and prospective teachers will find this a highly useful addition to their professional library. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels."

- Choice

Acknowledgments; SECTION ONE: Introduction; Dramatic Writing and Process Drama; SECTION TWO: PLAY(FUL) WRITING: Dialogue and Voice; Character and Role; Structure, Story and Narrative; Meanings Beyond the Literal; Observation; SECTION THREE: PRACTICAL PROJECTS: Years 1 and 2: Jack and the Beanstalk; Not Now Bernard; Years 2 and 3: The Pet Cellar; Voices in the Park; Years 3 and 4: The Kraken; Years 4 and 5: Wolves in the Walls; Years 5, 6 and Above: The Dunce (Le Cancre); Year 6 and Above: The Arrival; The Fall of Troy; Glossary of Drama Techniques; SECTION FOUR: RESOURCES: Photocopiable Materials; Online Resources and Internet Links; Bibliography; Index.

Brian Woolland

Brian Woolland has worked as a teacher in mainstream education, an advisory teacher for Drama and a Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Reading and has led numerous workshops on Educational Drama and Theatre. Now a freelance writer and educator, he divides his time between teaching, leading courses for teachers and writing novels and plays.