Glen Oaks teacher uses acting to boost reading
May 31, 2012 3:08PM
Kim Dignin (right) acknowledges the crowd’s applause after a community theater performance of “The Odd Couple.” | Supplied Photo
Updated: July 6, 2012 8:41AM
Kim Dignin has singing and acting in her blood.
Dancing is another story.
“My mom was in a singing group when I was young, so I was raised with music in house,” Dignin said. “I also loved the TV show ‘Fame’ and I could sing along.”
The Glen Oaks teacher has turned her love of singing and acting into a tool to help her students improve their reading. Dignin also is a part of a Teachers Reader Theater group that adopts scripts to books and acts out the books in front of its students.
“I love to ham it up for the kids,” she said. “There’s nothing better to do than make people laugh.”
Dignin not only makes her students laugh, but she’s been making others laugh in various community theater productions she’s performed in with the Tinley Park Park District.
A Tinley Park resident, Dignin first played the role of the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods.” Recently, she challenged herself by playing the comedic role of Felicia Unger in the performance of “The Odd Couple.”
Dignan said she loves adapting acting into the classroom to help students improve their confidence and their reading.
“We use performances as a way to motivate the kids to read,” she said. “I explain to the kids that the show is made up from books we get from the library. The kids in my room want to then perform their own Readers Theater for their peers.”
Dignin said acting really helps kids overcome their fears while improving their reading skills. She cited as an example a student to whom she gave a lead role in a play, and that student’s confidence and reading scores “have gone through the roof,” she said.
Dignin said she was shy as a student and can relate to many of her students who feel that way now.
“There’s just something about acting and being able to pretend you are someone else that just brings out the natural star in you,” she said. “That’s what I’m trying to do with my students.”
Dignin said she hopes to start her own drama club for students after school.
“I’d have to do it on my own time, but I think it is something that would be well-received by the kids,” she said.
Provided to the SouthtownStar