The Effects of Teaching Literacy through the Arts on Students with Learning Disabilities
by Amy Cardullo
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of teaching literacy through the arts on students with special needs. The objective was to determine the importance of kinesthetic or hands-on instruction on students with special needs. Lessons on line, comprehension and detail were taught through active learning. Students’ physical and verbal responses to this instruction were examined throughout the study and used as a basis to enhance learning. The qualitative method is utilized in this study through observation, interviews, and pre-and post-lessons. First, I conducted a review of literature in the fields of kinesthetic education. From the literature I developed questions for use during observations and interviews. A language arts class was observed on a daily basis and anecdotal reports recorded. From interviews with six elementary teachers, I recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed their answers in order to isolate a theme in each. The themes found were motivation, comprehension, recall, and description. All were enhanced when the arts were integrated intot the lesson. The results of the study further confirm that variables such as classroom environment and lesson time management influence the learning of students with special needs. In conclusion, all of the students in the study excelled in various ways when the arts and kinesthetic lessons were taught.