Disciplinary Literacy in Theatre

Welcome to the Disciplinary Literacy in Theatre site.  
You will find resources to better engage students in creativity, communication, and critical thinking, while remaining true to the rigors of theatre. Stage direction, scripts, lighting cues, choreography notes, and the elements of theatre offer a unique system of communication. This system allows people across countries, cultures, and time to engage within the expressive qualities of theatre.  Through this system of stage notes, scripts, and various cues, learners can both read, write, listen, speak, think critically, and perform within their role in the theatre. The elements associated with theatre offer a unique method of communication and a type of informational text for learners to engage in.

Disciplinary Literacy definition -
In Wisconsin, "disciplinary literacy is defined as the confluence of content knowledge, experiences, and skills merged with the ability to read, write, listen, speak, think critically and perform in a way that is meaningful within the context of a given field."

For more examples of application in theatre education, visit:
  • Videos focused on arts use for each of the disciplinary literacy tools - Click on the box to see each video.
Listening  Performing  Reading 
Speaking  Critical Thinking  Writing
8 Steps to Building Art Knowledge through Literacy (Template)
1. Build prior knowledge. 
2. Build specialized vocabulary.
3. Learn to deconstruct complex visual representation of ideas. 
4. Use knowledge of artistic elements and genres to identify main and subordinate ideas within a piece. 
5. Articulate what the graphic representations mean within a work or ideas to support its main components.
6. Pose discipline relevant questions. 
7. Compare artistic elements of the work to other work. 
8. Use reasoning within the discipline (i.e. what counts as evidence to evaluation claims).

For questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact Julie Palkowski, Fine Arts and Creativity Education Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. 

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