A recent poll by Save the Children has shown that every year, around 130,000 children in the UK – including 40% of children from poorer backgrounds – leave primary school not reading as well as they should – which means that if this trend continues around 1.5 million children will be left behind by 2025. In particular, white British boys from low-income families are more likely to fall behind and twice as likely as girls to fail to reach a basic reading level. Britain has one of the widest gaps on this measure in the developed world.
In literacy based drama workshops we have often found that boys respond to drama because it provides opportunities for multi-sensory, kinaesthetic responses to stories such as mime, gestures, sound and movement. Drama provides a focus and support for the children to use language from the story in an independent way and also contributes to building up their confidence and self-esteem. Using forum theatre techniques such as thought tunnel, hot seating and role play also encourages them to develop critical and creative thinking skills and provides opportunities for them to explore the issues, problems or moral dilemmas that the story contains.