ASAP Drama: Inspiring young readers through theater arts

Over the last month, ASAP has been sharing the stories of our committed Chess, Debate, and Scrabble partners in an effort to remind our community just how critical after school programs are in the lives of Philadelphia children as we continue to come back together. This week ASAP Drama takes center stage

In recent years, ASAP Drama has joined forces with Read By 4th and partners throughout the city to help Philadelphia children become strong, joyful readers. For ASAP Drama clubs serving students in grades K-3, this has meant pairing traditional after school club leaders – like classroom teachers, rec center staff, and out-of-school time providers – with experienced teaching artists (TAs) to use the exciting, creative energy of theatre arts to develop students’ fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

This partnership model, made possible by support from the William Penn Foundation, has been a great way for club leaders and teaching artists to harness their unique expertise to drive student engagement. For Ryan Pater, the ASAP Drama TA at Welsh Elementary, a community school in West Kensington, this kind of partnership has been critical.

ASAP Drama Teaching Artist, Ryan Pater, leads John Welsh Elementary students in a warm-up exercise

During the 2021-22 school year, the Welsh Elementary club and ASAP Drama programs citywide alike are following an original curriculum called “The World Around Me,” that features performance plays, workshops and in-person and virtual events to explore different aspects of storytelling, including character building, story-setting, and plot development. The goal is that by the end of the year students have a deeper understanding of how to create and construct their own stories.

So far, the students at Welsh Elementary have embraced the opportunity to flex their creative muscles:

And having drama club as a creative outlet has been beneficial both academically and socially for students during this particularly difficult time:

As ASAP continues to prioritize partnerships to achieve program success, we remain fueled by the positivity shared by our programs.

How you can help

So this giving season, we ask that you help ASAP give schools like Welsh Elementary the support they need to help their students shine. We are most grateful for your generosity.

To support ASAP’s work, please consider making a donation today!