Playbooks® Step-by-Step Implementation Makes a Trackable Reader's Theater Program Simple

Playbooks® multi-story kits (Grade Level Kits, After School Kits, and Camp Reader's Theater™ Kits) each come with a 12-page Step-by-Step Implementation Packet including directions, planning forms, and assessment tools. Along with the Teacher Guide, Recommended Reader Assignment Charts, Award Certificates, and Supplemental Activity Packets also included in kits, this packet provides everything you need to prepare for your reader's theater program, get started, and measure student growth. Below is an outline of the various tools at your disposal when you use Playbooks® multi-story kits.

(Image) Step-by-Step Implementation Packet

Implementation Guide - These directions explain how to introduce the students to reader's theater, group students for success, assign appropriately leveled roles, effectively coach students, and rotate stories between small groups of students.

Quick Start
Implementation Guide
A simpler, shorter version of the Implementation Guide to help you get started in the fastest way possible.

Readability Test - Students read a series of sentences aloud, one on one with the instructor, earning points that indicate the student's proper reading level. The test is designed to be used before, during, and after the reader's theater program.

Access the free online version of the Playbooks® Readability Test here to use with students.

(Image) Playbooks Readability Test

Reading Behavior Test - This evaluation form helps you analyze students' reading habits, social reading skills and classroom conduct during reading activities. The test can be used before, during, and after the completion of the reader's theater program.

Student Information Sheet - This form is used to record student reading levels and preferences for reading aloud, for example, whether they would like a small or large part, whether they like acting, etc. It is used to prepare for role assignment.

Student Questionnaire - Students can fill out these forms for an easy way to collect knowledge for the Student Information Sheet above.

Assessment Student Record Form - Record and evaluate student progress by comparing pre-program reading test scores with post-program scores.

Story Rotation Chart - Map out a schedule for rotating different stories between your reading groups with story repetitions, supplemental activities, and/or Take Center Stage™ games over a certain number of weeks.

Reading With Expression Reminders - Post this list of reading tips on the wall or pass out copies to students to help them remember to use good form and express themselves when reading aloud.

Browse Playbooks® Grade Level Kits,
After School Kits, or Camp Reader's Theater™ Kits

Playbooks® Twists: Expand the Experience With Centers, Movie
Making, and Sound Effects

Reader's theater is always fun, but sometimes adding a twist can bring even more excitement and learning for students! Below are a few ideas for how to use Playbooks® creatively in the classroom, in addition to the standard recommended group reading methods.

  1. Include a Reader's Theater Center in your classroom learning stations. Students can visit the center in small groups and choose scripts to read together from those they have already read with instruction at least once. Provide props and costumes in the center for students to pick and use while reading. You can even provide writing materials and ask students to create their own alternate endings to a script within their groups and practice it in preparation for performing in front of the class. The center could also be a place for students to complete the Playbooks® supplemental activities that accompany stories in a more relaxed or casual atmosphere.

  2. Expand on the acting theme by asking students to imagine the story as a movie. Most kids love watching movies and television, and reader's theater takes advantage of this by giving them a chance to be a star! So, to continue the fun, after students finish reading a script, have them visualize the events on the big screen. What characters would be focused on in each scene? How would the camera be zoomed and angled? Then have students fold a plain sheet of paper into sections and illustrate each scene of the story as if it were being made into a movie. If time allows, have them share their ideas and "production decisions" in a class discussion.

  3. Add some noise! Provide or have students bring in a selection of classroom or household items and simple instruments that can be used to add sound effects during the Playbook® story. During the first reading, students can simply think about which parts might benefit from added sound, and then can work in groups to plan a soundscape for subsequent reading. Each student in the small reading group should have at least one sound maker to contribute to the story.

(Image) Music and Sound Effects

We still would like to hear your reader's theater ideas! Please share them with us and we will suggest them in our next newsletter so other educators and their students can benefit from your creativity and experience! Email with your stories.

Building the Next Generation: Engaging Girls in STEM

Although the achievement gap between girls and boys in areas of math and science has narrowed in recent years, there is still a major discrepancy between the number of men and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related fields. While women make up half of those employed, only 26% of those in science and math related careers are women. This trend is clearly predictable from college statistics, which show that, for example, only 21% of engineering bachelor's degrees were earned by women. The place for making changes to improve this imbalance starts in elementary school and continues through high school!

According to the Department of Education, there are 5 proven ways teachers can instruct in a way that encourages both boys and girls to reach their full potential in all subject areas:

(Image) Girl Doctor

1. Teach that abilities are expandable. Explain that the brain grows when new things are learned and you get smarter the more you challenge yourself to learn.

2. Provide "prescriptive informational feedback." Focus on praising or correcting effort and effective strategies used when evaluating students' work rather than simply whether answers are right or whether the student appears "naturally gifted" in the subject.

3. Show students female role models. Invite female scientists or former students now studying for a degree in a STEM field to speak to students in the classroom. Share news stories about accomplishments by women in science and math.

4. Spark curiosity. Include math and science in other activities that students will enjoy, use reading activities to further the STEM themes you are exploring, and take advantage of innovative learning methods using peer groups, technology, etc.

5. Teach spatial skills. Ask students to visualize when solving math problems, utilize diagrams, and require answers that include drawings.

One way to achieve methods 3 and 4 is to immerse students in literature and reading opportunities that feature women and girls who are interested in science, technology, engineering, or math. Reader's theater and plays are particularly useful because they give students the chance to step into those roles for themselves while having fun with their peers. Playbooks® recommends several scripts that showcase female characters being successful in math or science: The Great Rhyme Travel Machine series (Gr. 3-6), Fabulous Food Detectives (Gr. 4-6), and Who Gives a Hoot (Gr. 4-8). In addition, Planet Parade (Gr. 4-7) is entirely focused on STEM content and teaches facts about our solar system and how it functions with fun planetary characters.

For a thorough guide on implementing the strategies outlined above, as well as district and school level planning tools, visit Encouraging Girls in Math and Science by Doing What Works (U.S. Department of Education).

Source for 5 ways to encourage girls in STEM: Doing What Works by the US Department of Education.

Reminder: Staff Training Workshops Available
for Fall Professional Development

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For workshop content details, read on.
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Workshops on the Web™

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Playbooks® Workshops on the Web™ are shown live and your questions and interaction are welcomed.
Learn more about webinar content and how to register for an upcoming Workshop on the Web.

Reading With Expression:
An Under Recognized but Essential Component For Maximizing Reading Success

Use of expression, emotion, and proper use of pausing is what makes reading sound like natural spoken language, and students who display these characteristics of speech when reading show better comprehension. Students improve these skills by practicing and actively engaging with the text. Based on studies supporting this value, researchers believe expressive reading should be a part of classroom literacy instruction.

In one study that highlights the powerful role of expressive reading in overall reading success, researchers observed and interviewed students described as dramatic oral readers. They found that students who habitually read with expression felt better able to focus on and understand books and seemed to gain a sense of self-worth as a result. In addition, researchers concluded the following: "Because the reader is continuously confronted with choices, dramatic reading sharpens decision making skills as the reader becomes responsible for the dramatic interpretation" (Cramer, 2003).

Reader's theater is the perfect platform for providing expressive reading practice that incorporates other proven methods of building fluency and captures student attention with a social reading experience!

Feature Story of the Month
Back to School Silliness to Kick Off Reading This Year!

(Image) Rhyme Travel 2 Cover

The Coopersville Capers

An Original PlaybooStory

Content for Grades 2 - 4
Reading Stages 1 - 5

Written by: Emily Gail
Illustrated by: Len Gatdula

Story Synopsis:  What happens when playing tricks and pranks goes terribly wrong? Luke and his best friends discover that "getting even" with girls isn't as much fun as they thought. Third grade has never been more exciting ... that is, until Miss Plum, the third grade teacher of Coopersville Elementary School, finds her way into the mischief. With more than just a few tricks up their sleeves, these 3rd-graders discover the true meaning of cooperation!

(Image) Coopersville Capers Character Pad
Click here to view summary and image of each character.

August Special

When you purchase a Workshop on the Web
for at least 2 attendees, receive 5 additional attendee seats free
at a $50 value!

Playbooks Reader's Theater Webinar Image

Offer valid until
August 30th.

Mention Coupon Code:

Featured Free
"All About
Reader's Theater"

Activity For August

Costume Fun With Reader's Theater

(Image) Free Reader's Theater Exercise With Choral Reading

2011 Catalog
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