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Reader’s theatre very interactive for children

By Stacey Alfonso-Mills, Children’s Books Author. “Reader’s theatre is simply a dramatic presentation of a book and there are many ways for this to be fun and exciting for children.”

Over the last few years, many of our schools as well as our National Library have adopted “book-reading” or read-aloud sessions for students in support of the benefits of early literacy. Read-aloud sessions are highly beneficial for our children, as the reader engages the listener by using more expressive tones thereby creating a more receptive learning environment.

Although book-reading sessions help develop our children’s early literacy skills, many of our children require additional reading support.  Why not consider a more interactive book-reading method such as reader’s theatre.

Reader’s theatre a fun process

Reader’s theatre is simply a dramatic presentation of a book and there are many ways for this to be fun and exciting for children. One way is to have the dramatic book presentation performed by an outside guest or even drama professionals. The readers focus on the text, characters, expressive voices and gestures to communicate the story to the students. In this scenario, children are almost entirely focused on the characters as they are drawn into the story.

Another way to perform a dramatic presentation of a book is by the students themselves. Of course this would involve some teacher management, but it’s an excellent opportunity to involve students in a read-aloud session.

Having the children actively involved in the production encourages them to become invested in the story as they commit themselves to the character they are assigned to perform. This strategy combines reading and performing practice and the benefits can include improved reading fluency and comprehension skills as well as blossoming confidence.

Tips to make this a fun process

– Choose fun books with lots of great dialogue and fun characters.

– Allow students to volunteer at first until everyone becomes comfortable with the process.

– Make the process easy. Provide photocopies of the book for the readers to hold while performing so there is no need to memorise lines. Staging and costuming are not necessary.

There are many benefits for children when introducing creative interactive book-reading experiences, not to mention the fun they have in the process. Think about it for a school or camp project – or better yet, a family fun night activity over the school holidays!

August 2016

Active Learning in the classroom

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