Using the Arts in Afterschool
Afterschool programs that include the arts add a special dimension. Students involved in sustained theater arts (scene study, acting techniques, dramatic or musical theater productions) often show improvement not only in reading proficiency, but also in self-control and motivation and in empathy and tolerance for others. Learning in and through the arts can even help students overcome the obstacles of disadvantaged backgrounds. (Source: National Endowment of the Arts)
Reader's theater is an effective, easy, and fun way to incorporate the arts into afterschool programs. Reader's theater is reading a story like a play without memorization, props, or a stage. Students each take a character role and read their part with expression, meaning, and enthusiasm in small non-threatening groups. It's more practical and effective than putting on a theatrical play which takes a great deal of preparation and typically only gives a spotlight to a handful of students. Reader's theater is much easier to implement while giving all students an opportunity to shine!
Playbooks® Reader's Theater stories are unique because each character's dialogue is presented in a different color throughout the story (giving students a sense of security and ownership of their role) and more importantly, the roles are written at different reading levels. This means that each book has easier and harder roles within the same script allowing you to group older kids with younger kids to read the same story together. Stories have broad appeal across several age groups and some include a hilariously funny "Over-Acting Game." Older students become the reading role models for the younger students and everyone gains from the experience. Reader's theater gives students an outlet for creative expression and a safe platform for building reading confidence which translates into success in many other areas of their lives.
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