Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Jerry Griffith


Children's communication development has attracted a great deal of attention in the last few years. Research has begun to make advances in what we know about children's speech, language, and hearing abilities. It has been proposed that children are most interested (and probably learn most) while playing. As a result, the idea of play therapy gained recognition. Creative dramatics is a specific area or technique that can include a child's play and can incorporate specific language objectives and goals. The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of creative dramatic experiences on the expressive verbal language scores of preschool children.

A six-week experiment included an initial two-week control period, a two-week experimental period involving group sessions in creative dramatics, and finally, a second two-week control period. The children were tested individually using traditional language sampling methods. The Developmental Sentence Scoring method was used to analyze the language samples. Language samples were obtained at weekly intervals prior to and immediately following the creative dramatics sessions.

Analysis of variance yielded significant F ratios for both the subjects source of variance and language sample source of variance. Duncan's New Multiple Range Test further identified the sources of subject variance and testing period variance. The analyses revealed no significant differences among language sample scores obtained in the initial control period. There was an increase in language scores obtained immediately following the two weeks of creative drama, compared to scores obtained at the end of the initial control period. There were no significant differences among language scores obtained in the final control period.

These findings support the conclusion that the value of creative drama can be measured in terms of verbal language behavior. Further, the increase in language scores following the creative drama experiences may be, in part, caused by these experiences. The results have some implications for language therapy:

  1. Creative drama appears to have a measurable effect on expressive language behavior and could serve as an effective method for sampling spontaneous language.
  2. Creative drama may be an effective teaching method in language therapy as evidenced by the improvement in expressive verbal language scores obtained in this study.
  3. The design of the present study can serve as a model for future replication studies.