LEAP’s literacy program, designed for PreK-5th grade students, uses an active learning approach through drama, visual arts, music, and movement to improve emerging and young readers’ vocabulary, language, reading, writing, and speaking skills. LEAP’s literacy program has been recognized as a model for successful teaching by the United States Department of Education and leaders of New York City’s Department of Education.
Through hands-on, culturally responsive, arts-based teaching strategies, LEAP's literacy program provides activities that can be fully integrated into any PreK-5th grade literacy program. The program incorporates a variety of art disciplines to improve literacy. In one class, students illustrate hand-bound books with original poetry. In another they use adverbs taken from student reflections to choreograph a collaborative dance, or compare and contrast the melodies and rhythms of Latin American music and then create original songs to accompany traditional beats.
LEAP’s literacy program's hands-on interdisciplinary teaching strategies are based on evidence that students learn best when they are engaged in multiple ways. The program is designed to develop in young readers a love of language arts through artistic inquiry and exploration. A longitudinal and quantitative study of this program, conducted by independent NYU evaluators, showed that students participating in LEAP's literacy program scored significantly higher than their peers on ECLA assessments. In this study, K-2nd grade students LEAP's literacy program outperformed their peers on 87% of the 23 literacy skills tested.
Through this program, each classroom teacher is partnered with a LEAP teaching artist to co-teach standards- aligned English Language Arts lessons over a 30-session arts residency. Through collaborative planning, in-class modeling and professional development workshops, the classroom teachers are trained in using LEAP's literacy program's interdisciplinary strategies to integrate into their daily curriculum.