CTL’s Artful Reading (AR) curriculum integrates the arts into literacy instruction while meeting both National Arts and Literacy standards. Artful Reading promotes a thoughtful approach to reading, writing, speaking, and listening by utilizing high-interest and varied texts, arts materials, and lesson plans. It engages students in visual arts, dance, music, and drama experiences to make more powerful literacy connections.

Program Design

CTL’s Artful Reading program strengthens literacy instruction by integrating the arts. Arts integration uses teaching practices that have been shown in brain-based research to improve comprehension and long-term retention.

The provided lessons, grounded in research-based instructional strategies, engage students in visual arts, dance, music, and theatre experiences to make powerful literacy connections while meeting both National Literacy standards and National Core Arts Anchor standards. Artful Reading promotes an innovative and rigorous approach to reading, writing, speaking, and listening by utilizing high-interest and varied texts along with unique arts materials. 

Each module contains a picture book, supplemental texts, arts materials, and lesson plans to deliver the standards-aligned lessons. This field-tested curriculum model supports enhanced literacy and arts instruction. The model is designed to support students in preschool through 8th grade in developing comprehensive reading skills. Each module taps into the classroom teacher’s prior knowledge about literacy instruction and arts integration. The materials are built around a structure for before-, during-, and after-reading that addresses key literacy developmental skills using arts-based strategies and contexts to deeply engage students in learning. The materials immerse students and teachers in learning in, through and about the arts.

     Lesson Design

    Lesson plans for each module contain comprehensive literacy components, including:

    • Tiered Vocabulary 
    • Reading Comprehension: Before, During, After Reading Activities
    • Academic Dialogue
    • Writing to Learn
    • Writing to Demonstrate Learning: Informational, Narrative, and Opinion Writing Tasks (K – 5)
    • ECERS-aligned Centers (Pre-K)
    • Project-Based Learning Experiences (6-8)
    • Summative and Formative Assessments
    • Gradual Release Process
    • Extension Activities to Differentiate & Scaffold Learning
    • Recommended Topic-Related Texts for Independent and Adult-Directed Reading to Support Building Background Knowledge

    Featured Modules

    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2nd grade)

    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, first published in 1972, is still relevant with its message that even when a day feels terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad, it’s just a single day. This module uses drama and visual arts to explore big feelings and the connection between color and emotion. It provides space for students to empathize with story characters and peers, consider different perspectives, and engage in meaningful reflection about how we communicate our feelings.

    Float Like a Butterfly (6th grade)

    Float Like a Butterfly invites readers into the ring to explore the life, courage, and wisdom of Muhammad Ali. Students will piece together a picture of this legendary fighter and be encouraged to find within themselves the very attributes that also make them great. Students will study poetry and use writing to make ordinary words great.

    Rosie Revere, Engineer (4th grade)

    Rosie Revere, Engineer is the story of a young girl who is an aspiring engineer. Students will learn about Rosie the Riveter and her significance in history, use creative movement to explore engineering principles, and tinker with loose parts to make sense of new learning. This module is a celebration of bold, strong women who had big dreams and paved a way for a new generation of “Rosies”.

    The Runaway Bunny (Preschool)

    The Runaway Bunny is a classic tale of a little bunny running away in his imagination and being reassured by his mother of her unconditional love. Rich in movement and vocabulary experiences, this module explores bunnies and their homes, the letter B, and introduces data collection and analysis. Children will delight in opportunities for puppet and song play, shadow-making, boat floating, and bunny counting in this module that has students hopping along on grand adventures.