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Tool for survival

Drama Play: Bringing Books to Life through drama for 4-7 years olds

By Kay Hiatt; David Fulton pound;13

Do you find yourself racking your brains to devise new activities for the primary classroom? Does the thought of planning drama opportunities which are meaningful across the curriculum fill you with terror?

Well, help is at hand. Drama Play not only promises to bring books to life through drama, it also promises to raise standards in literacy. So put precious time aside and read on. The author believes drama sparks pupils'

imagination and stimulates their thinking, an essential tool for survival in our constantly evolving world.

The ideas outlined in the 12 ready-planned lessons will enable children to "engage intellectually and emotionally" with the themes in the carefully chosen picture books. It is a flexible resource which encourages teachers, once confident with drama techniques, to use the book as a quick reference guide.

Examples are drawn from a range of cross curricular literature - Rama and Sita, a West African tale, Camille and the Sunflowers - and picture books which deal with PSHE themes such as friendship.

Each plan summarises the key events in the story, lists resources, states the drama techniques to be employed, and identifies the early learning goals or National Literacy Strategy objectives met, lists possible writing opportunities, specifies cross curricular links and finally suggests ICT activities.

The strength of Drama Play is the explanation of key drama skills. Each technique is described in detail and signalled with a symbol. The guidance on how to manage and introduce techniques such as teacher in role is invaluable and will instil confidence. The new ideas for role play areas, which are linked to picture books, are imaginative and fun. Unfortunately, the ICT links are uninspiring and limited to Google searches. A CD-Rom of key images from the picture books would be an ideal complement for interactive whiteboards. The central aim of this book is to inspire teachers to play with drama in a creative way, to encourage them to apply their ideas and enjoy the outcomes.

Sarah Nunn Sarah Nunn is an advanced skills teacher at Charles Dickens Primary School, in the London borough of Southwark

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