By: Christi Rutledge
The meaning of literacy goes beyond the notion of simply reading: it includes the ability to understand what you read, communicate with others and engage fully in life’s activities and opportunities. Like theatre, most people develop a love for literacy at a young age thanks to the parents and authority figures who spend time nurturing their relationship with language. The skills that they develop together can be used to enrich almost any experience, including a trip to the theatre! Here are a few great tips on how to build your family’s literacy while enhancing your Festival visit.
- Read and discuss the play before you go to the theatre with your family. This is a wonderful way to spend time with the kids and help them get the most out of a production. We have lots of resources to introduce you and your family to Shakespeare – just follow this link! The more you practice activities like these, the easier it becomes to understand the language.
- Browse one of Stratford’s seven independent book stores! When you’re here next, take some time to visit these fabulous shops and pick up a title or two that complement the productions you’re seeing. My parents always got me a book after I went to the theatre. I remember watching Twelfth Night and then receiving As You Like It; it was a wonderful way to build on the excitement of attending a live performance. And because I’d just seen one play, I could better understand the other. (The Theatre Store carries great books, too! Check out some of our titles here.)
- Attend our Theatre Explorer activities as a family. We have so many wonderful things to do on site that can help to enhance your family’s understanding and appreciation of theatre. One of my favourites is our Playful Preview, where families can come for an interactive introduction to the story and characters of the plays that they’re about to see. Come find out more about Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V – or learn a dance, draw cartoons or join in a singalong! These are just a few of the options available to you; check out all of the Beyond the Stage activities that we offer.
- Most of all, make sure you’re having fun! Enjoying your trip to the theatre – as well as everything you do together beforehand – is the best way to ensure that your kids continue to develop their literacy as they get older.
What have you done with your family that has helped to improve your literacy?
P.S.- Check out our Family Experience program!
Photo: Claire Couturier, THEATREtc