Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts by Eileen Landay and Kurt Wootton

A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts
by Eileen Landay and Kurt Wootton
Harvard Education Press. 2012
ISBN: 9781612504605
I requested a copy of this book from the publisher.

Every once in awhile we need to read a book that invigorates our creativity. 

How well, or how poorly, a child does in school affects their future. If you dream of creating a classroom or library where students develop a stronger sense of self and a deeper passion for learning, but aren’t sure where to begin, read A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts. Based on their 'Performance Cycle' taught at the ArtsLiteracy Project at Brown University, founders Eileen Landay and Kurt Wootton explain techniques they've developed over the years and how to implement them.

A Reason to Read outlines steps for educators, using literature and acting, to create a fun and stimulating environment for learning. 'The Performance Cycle' offers teachers and learners a shared approach and a common vocabulary. The goal is to design environments that help students develop receptivity, focus, effort, and the ability to think, learn, create, and reflect.

'The Performance Cycle' is a series of interconnected steps that, when pulled together, have proven to stimulate a students desire to learn. 

Each of the eight chapters explains the different phases of the Cycle. The overall tone is definitely geared towards educators, but even those unfamiliar with the educators language will find the book an interesting and thought provoking read. The authors say in their epilogue that,  

we want to challenge the seemingly relentless press towards uniformity that appears to be winning the day in education circles. As an alternative, we want to propose that educators seek a balance between uniformity and diversity, between establishing fixed learning standards and honoring the innovation,exploration, and unique context that marks every classroom environment.

Landay and Wootton's book is for professional development. It will give those who work with children of all ages some very important and useful tools to make learning fun.


  1. Quite amazing to have stumbled upon this blog post an hour after leaving Scarborough Middle School here in Maine where I just finished leading a model performance cycle workshop for 20 6th and 7th grade students. I live and work here in southern Maine and as a senior consultant with the ArtsLiteracy Project I've recently been leading ArtsLiteracy workshops for teachers and students in the greater Portland area.

    Thanks for reviewing this book. I'm certainly biased as to the topic, but I must say that Kurt and Eileen did an amazing job of explaining our work and for painting a picture of what is and can be happening in our classroom environments.

    I can be reached at johnholdridge [at]

  2. Thank you, John. I look forward to corresponding with you.