Evaluator Research

ArtsResearch conducted 9 years of mixed-method research on the impact of the Bridges program

Research Analysis

The analysis provided strong evidence of program effects on literacy and child development through participation in the Bridges program.

Multi-Sensory Literate Expression
Bridges students made significantly better progress on literacy development than a comparison group. Bridges emphasizes authentic discussion of character, setting, & narrative of stories – with embodied classroom practice. Young children benefit from experiencing language in an authentic manner, & physically embodying language through an artistic process.
Bridge 1 Research Results
Notice, Describe and Ask Protocol
Students practiced using descriptive language for settings, characters, narrative and their artwork. The students also applied the meaning of “detail” during the visual artmaking and responded to artists’ suggestions about adding details on their own. Their perceptions and understandings were reflected in their work.
Bridge 2 Research Results
An Artist’s Work Process
Artists typically learn to observe, reflect, construct meaning, represent complex ideas and engage in the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy in the cognitive and affective domains to create their art, and the program supported that level of artistic thinking for students.
Bridge 3 Research Results

Research Methods

Methods included systematic observation, surveys, interviews, and analysis of NYC Measures of Student Learning (MoSL).


Teachers say...


We learned how art can be crucial in literacy development. We are more aware of the importance movement brings to enrich literacy and help students grasp concepts we are trying to teach.

It made me aware of the power of the multidisciplinary approach including the arts. We found ways to use the vocabulary they learned to carry over into literacy lessons.

Using puppets to create a story or describe emotions has been a great scaffold to writing. The ability to use their bodies and words first is important to develop ideas & thoughts.

I was able to connect with my students on a more creative level instead of just commenting on how well they wrote and discussing the basic fundamentals of writing.

I have a lot of students in my class that are shy and have difficulty coming out of their comfort zones to change their voice and read with expression. Bridges supported this ability.

Students were able to use their physical body to represent a setting/character and then use vocal expression to describe. This was then transferred to the visual storytelling process.

Bridges helped me learn how to easily incorporate art and puppetry into my ELA lessons. Also, it helped me learn how to incorporate art into social-emotional learning.

It has allowed me to bring the arts to all areas, especially literacy. I have made puppets for other literacy units.

Research Team



Offers program evaluation, research, student assessment, program design & strategic planning. ArtsResearch has conducted over 100 program evaluations, as well as research on the connections between learning in the arts and dimensions of cognitive, social and personal development.
Learn More
Rob Horowitz, Ed. D
Executive Director, ArtsResearch and Associate Director, Center for Arts Education Research, Teachers College, Columbia University. He is known for his arts education research that demonstrates the important relationships between in-school arts learning and cognitive, social, and personal competencies.