Date of Award

Fall 2001

Project Type


Program or Major

Reading and Writing Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

John J Carney


The purpose of my study was to identify and describe the components of theatre rehearsal and their implications for the teaching of reading and writing. Using qualitative methods of inquiry such as direct and participant observation and group and individual interviews, I documented the rehearsal process and literacy practices of members of a professional theatre company that performs only in academic environments. In analyzing the data I used Anderson and Jack's strategies for listening and determined that there are four major components of theatre rehearsal: chunking (the breaking down of the script into smaller, more manageable pieces), repetition (the constant, purposeful repeating of the text), encouragement (the acknowledgement of the actor's effort), and response (the verbal or non-verbal reaction to the other three components). These components provide opportunities for collaboration and discussion; they provide time to think about and discuss the choices being made; and they provide opportunities to use other tools and strategies such as visualization, inquiry or exploration, and self-evaluation.

I believe using these rehearsal strategies to teach reading and writing can provide the same opportunities for our students. There is much discussion in the field of education about creating communities of learners. Rehearsal can help us create such communities because it can provide us with opportunities to teach our students that learning is a constant rehearsal. We must teach our students to do more than just choose the appropriate response. We must teach them to recognize what they know about their own learning and thinking, and we must provide them with opportunities to demonstrate what they know about reading and writing. We must give them the chance to demonstrate not only that they can read and write but that they understand what they are doing when they read and write.