Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Creative Americans

[Detail] Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald by Carl Van Vechten


Teachers can foster their classes' comprehension of any work of fiction, its characters, setting, and plot, by asking students to imagine that they were going to present it as a play and to make costume and set designs for the production. For examples, students can browse Van Vechten's photographs and refer to costume sketches from "The Play that Electrified Harlem" in The New Deal Stage. Literary comprehension can also be strengthened and assessed by asking students to turn a portion of the text into a dramatic scene by writing a screenplay with dialog and stage directions. These exercises will also help students to understand the differences between fiction and drama and will encourage them to read imaginatively.