Literature to Life

June 16, 2009 7:24:58 AM PDT
Sometimes getting kids excited about reading can take some work. But once they're hooked, they're hooked for life. One program takes actors into the classroom to drum up interest.

"This is the path to where I'm going," one actor recited on stage.

The words are from the famous novel "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. The text has been staged, combining professional actors with public school students.

The students, from Manhattan's PS 111, were guided to choose words from their favorite books to be included for the performance. Its creators call the program Literature to Life.

"It entertains, it excites, it stimulates and it has consequences in the fact that the student becomes more aware of literature and how valuable books can be," said Wynn Handman, founder of the American Place Theatre.

The theater now has Literature to Life as its principal activity, performed in schools across the nation.

"Not only are they getting a more enriched experience learning about the book, but they're also getting exposed to theater," actress Melissa Center said.

Actress Meryl Streep is one of several top name performers who speak in support of Literature to Life. The students speak for themselves.

"Before, I forgot about the book and then, when we came back, i thought about it," student Hashem Ahmed said. "I remembered every part."

"They make a movie in their own head, and they love making that movie," Handman said. "And then they say, 'I don't want to see a movie of this book, I have my own movie.'"

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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