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English Language Arts and Mathematics - Middle School


Below is the research linking arts strategies to specific success at the middle school level in English Language Arts.  Click on any of the study citations to link to a full summary of the study in ArtsEdSearch, the online database of arts education research.


English Language Arts - Reading



  • Students receiving drama and drama integrated instruction improve their reading comprehension and fluency, and increase their understanding of complex plots and vocabulary (Keehn, Harmon & Shoho, 2008; Podlozny, 2000).


  • Instruction in music and the visual arts is linked to increased phonological awareness and is linked with deeper, more active engagement in reading and increased reading fluency (Wandell et al., 2008; Wilhelm, 1995).  



English Language Arts - Writing


  • Students receiving arts integrated English language arts instruction outperform other peers on standardized measures of persuasive and speculative writing (Walker et al., 2011).


  • Drama instruction and role play activities aid students’ understanding of setting, character, and events, which is associated with enhanced use of detail, imagination, and persuasive use of argument in student writing (Cremin, et al., 2006; Wagner, 1986). 


  • Students receiving drama-integrated foreign language arts instruction demonstrate greater gains in several measures of writing ability—including overall quality, genre, and cultural content—than peers receiving non-integrated instruction (Bournot-Trites et al, 2007). 


  • Participation in media arts programming promotes digital literacy while at the same time building writing skills, a finding that holds true for all students, including those with special needs (Peppler, 2010).



English Language Arts - Speaking and Listening



  • Music training is associated with improved verbal memory and retention of spoken words (Ho et al., 2003).


  • Students who participate in arts programming take more positive risks and collaborate more with other students than those who do not participate in the arts (Burton, Horowitz & Abeles, 2000).


  • Arts integrated instruction helps students with special needs communicate their understanding and express themselves in appropriate ways (Mason, Steedly & Thormann, 2008).



English Language Arts - Language




English Language Arts - Skills and Competencies




  • Through multimedia arts programming students acquire digital and computer literacy skills, abilities that are essential for school, work, and life in the 21st century (Betts, 2006; Peppler, 2010). 

Mathematics - Concepts



  • Students enrolled in arts programming, music in particular, outperform their peers on standardized mathematics tests and are more likely to pass state math assessments (Johnson & Memmott, 2006; Walker et al., 2011). 


Mathematics - Skills and Competencies



  • Music education in particular helps to develop spatial skills necessary for success in mathematics such as logic, reasoning, and pattern recognition (Costa-Giomi, 1999). 

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