By Sid Samel
Many schools have theater programs that offer students a different type of education from the typical school experience. However, what are the real benefits of having a theater program?
As it turns out, there are a surprising number of advantages to theater programs for students. According to the American Alliance for Theater, involvement in theater programs improves academic performance, reading comprehension, and school attendance.
Several studies have shown that participation in the arts correlates with higher scores on standardized tests. Also, students who are involved in the arts tend to be better at reading comprehension, have better attendance records, and are more involved in academic and extracurricular activities.
Additionally, reading Shakespearean plays means that students involved in the arts typically have stronger reading comprehension skills than most. Studies have shown that the act of not only reading, but also performing plays improves reading comprehension in many students. Understanding Shakespearean literature also means that students are better equipped to understand scientific and mathematic materials. Involvement in the arts has also been linked to lower high school dropout rates. In fact, many students who were considered to be at a high risk to dropout of school listed the arts as one of the major factors behind staying in school.
While school drama programs may be considered “costly” or “unnecessary” by some, they provide irreplaceable benefits to all schools. No school is really complete without the arts.