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Beyond Words

Beyond Words Using the Arts to Enhance Early Reading Comprehension
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Winters, Kari-Lynn (2010). “Beyond Words, Using the Arts to Enhance Early Reading Comprehension.” General editor Claudia Pearson. Birmingham, AL: Look Again Press. ISBN10 0980111358; ISBN13 9780980111354.


This text investigates the way in which arts can be effectively integrated with a reading program as a way to teach and evaluate global reading comprehension strategies among less proficient readers. The project was undertaken with twelve less proficient third and fourth grade readers in a West Vancouver suburban public school for a total of seven months.

The study consists of three phases. First the students were nominated, observed and interviewed. Pre-program progress interviews, which included arts-integrated evaluations, were also conducted. In the second phase, students were taught five reading comprehension strategies. Students learned about and practiced these strategies through nine arts-integrated lessons. Additionally, informal interviews with the two teachers and post-program interviews took place during this second phase. The third phase concluded by performing what had been learned throughout the sessions, conducting group delayed-program progress interviews, and completing student reflection sheets.

The research findings revealed that all twelve of the less proficient students in the study generally improved their reading skills. When given opportunities to construct and express their understandings through arts-integration, they seemed to become more fluent decoders and appeared to strengthen their employment of global/interpretive comprehension strategies when reading printed texts. Videos and still photos of the activities described in this text are available.

This book is an expanded version of “Developing an Arts-Integrated Narrative Reading Comprehension Program for Less Proficient Grade 3 and 4 Students,” author’s award-winning Masters Thesis for Department of Language and Literacy in Education, University of British Columbia (2004).



  • 2005. Winner: Language and Literacy Researchers of Canada Masters Research Award

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