Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA)

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DRTA in literacy

DRTA is a prediction-response based strategy.  The teacher establishes points in the text in advance of the lesson to stop the students and direct them to make a prediction about what will happen. This direction can include pointing out poignant elements within the text (title, headings, illustrations, etc.) that could provide clues.  The students then read a designated section of the text, checking to see if their predictions held up.  At the end of each section, they make a new prediction before reading on.  After reading, students return to their predictions, considering how the predictions were made and what could have made the predictions more accurate or meaningful.

DRTA in music

DRTA can be used in music to make students more aware of musical structures, form, and features.  This is particularly useful when students are first reading or listening through a new piece of music and do not have familiarity with its structure.  At key points (ends of themes or sections, significant cadences, etc.), the teacher has students pause from playing or listening to a piece and asks them to predict what they expect the next section will bring in terms of theme or character.  After playing or listening to each section, students reflect on whether they were correct or not.  At the end of the piece of music, students return to the predictions and reflections to see what cues they might have missed in their predictions or what made their predictions accurate.  While every piece is not necessarily able to be used this way, it can be particularly useful for letting students see the details of a piece of music that they have some point of reference to, such as familiarity with the style, form, composer, or character.  DRTA prompts students to seriously consider the music they are performing as literature rather than as notes on a page that lack internal relationships.