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Free Reader's Theater Activity: Eliminate Poor Speaking Habits Over the Summer

Download a free reader's theater exercise focusing on how to improve students' natural speech and get rid of bad habits. Learning to communicate ideas clearly and effectively is an important life skill that will help young students succeed in the future. Many kids develop speaking habits that are detrimental to the way others perceive them. Some common problems are summarized below.

  • using uh, um, like, and, so to fill spaces in their speech
  • repeating words
  • casual language such as "you know"
  • mumbling
  • looking down without eye contact
  • making statements that sound like questions
(Image) Classroom Behavior Exercise This six-week exercise is great for summer school, or any time, and will help your students learn to speak and express themselves clearly without using common poor speaking habits.

The activity includes 12 scenes from some of our Playbook® stories, a question for students to answer about each scene, as well as a chart for recording students’ performance.

Download the Free Activity

*Summer Tip* - Practice and perform reader's theater outdoors! With no props required,
students can enjoy the summer breeze
and get the creativity flowing.

Have Funds to Spend or Lose
by June 30th?
Plus, Grant Help for Next Year

Check with your supervisors, grant coordinators, or purchasing department for access to end-of-year funds t

hat can be lost if not spent. These funds are ideal for reading enrichment and we can help you finalize your expenditures by June 30.

It's Not Too Late for Summer Materials to Arrive
in Time For Your Program! Just Request
Expedited Order Processing!

If you don't have funds to utilize before June 30, we highly recommend you prepare an order form and submit it to your purchasing department on July 1 for next year's funds. You don't want to forget or run out of funding before getting these materials for your students! Time moves much too quickly and before you know it, it's gone and so is the money! So fill out one of our forms with the kits you want and attach it to your requisition and get it submitted early.

After School Kit Order Form
Camp Reader's Theater Kit Order Form
Full Order Form
(includes individual story sets)

If you do not expect to have other funds available for purchasing reader's theater materials, then consider applying for a grant to gain funding for these materials . You can find some helpful grant verbiage regarding reader's theater at this link! Good luck! We hope you are successful, and if you are, please let us know so we can reward you.

(Image) Grant Narrative

Download Our Grant Narratives for Title I
or Afterschool Programs

Assigning Parts Appropriately is a Breeze!
Use our Reading Level Correlation Chart or Oral Readability Test
to Determine Student Playbook® Reading Stages

Our reader's theater stories contain differentiated reading role levels, with dialogue carefully crafted to fit specific Playbook® Reading Stages, so students of different reading abilities and ages can all read the same story together. There are two ways to determine your students' Playbook® Reading Stages in order to assign them character parts that best target their skill levels. You can either compare their known reading levels (based on a different reading scale you already use) with Playbook® Stages using the Reading Level Correlations Chart, or you can administer our short Oral Readability Test to students to directly reveal their Playbook® Reading Stages. Both tools are available to view and download below.

Correlate your students' tested reading scores from other most common scales
to the Playbooks® Reading Stages with the Reading Level Correlation Chart.

Playbook Level Corelatios

Click to Download in PDF

Our Oral Readability Test determines
which Playbook® Reading Level most
closely fits a reader's abilities.

(Image) Readability Test

Click to download in PDF

Click to download in Excel

Thank You for Your New Playbook®
Story Content Suggestions
Last Month!

Congratulations to the winner of the
$100 Amazon.com gift certificate,

Crystal Castillo
Royal Palm Beach Elementary
Boyton Beach, FL,

for excellent idea contributions!

(Image) New Playbooks on the way!
Stay tuned for information about our new titles
with requested content coming in the Fall!

Plan Ahead and Add Playbooks® Roleplay Reader to Your
Vendor System!

Simply submit our W-9 and Sole
Source Letter
to your district's
purchasing department to
get the process started.

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Reader's Theater Beneficial for
Pre-K and Kindergarten,
Special Approach Provided With
Reader's Theater, Jr.™ Materials

Reader's theater is widely praised as a tool for building fluency in the elementary grades and above, but bringing words to life with a script is just as valuable for children who cannot yet read independently.

Playbooks® Reader's Theater, Jr.™
is specially developed,
including peer-reviewed strategies
for emerging readers shown below.

Researcher Kelli Moran states that very young children can experience reader's theater when a teacher "reads the majority of the text and the children join in by repeating phrases or reading key lines" (Moran 2006). She goes on to explain that as students' skills grow, they can gradually take a larger role in the reading and eventually be prepared to perform an entire script. What's most important, she emphasizes, is that "children are motivated and fully engaged in a literacy rich activity" (Moran 2006).

Reader's Theater, Jr. is created in accordance with this approach to early childhood reading. Each book set includes one full length reader's theater story and five mini stories which are all designed to be read first by the teacher. On subsequent readings the students will choral read selected parts. When the class has first completed the five mini stories, they are ready to take specific (shared) roles in the full length story and see what reader's theater is all about! Site word cards are included and can be used as an aid in reading the story, along with the extra-large-print books.

Moran underlines the main point: "Accessible materials are not only developmentally appropriate; they are also of interest to children. No reading activity that requires children to read dull, lifeless material will be successful" (Moran 2006). Reader's Theater, Jr.™ engages students with 10 distinct key topics for early childhood, such as counting with farm animals and meeting community helpers.

Read more about how Reader's Theater, Jr.™ works and view purchasing details.

Source: "Nurturing Emergent Readers Through Reader's Theater" by Kelli Moran. Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 33, No. 5, April 2006

Students With Autism
Can Make Strides With
the Unique Experience
of Reader's Theater

Reader’s theater can be an invaluable reading practice activity for children on the autism spectrum, who often have trouble portraying emotion when reading a text aloud. In addition to improving reading fluency and comprehension, reader's theater can also improve generalized social skills for students with autism.

Teacher Sara Finegan, who holds a Master's degree in Special Education, writes, “If you ask a child with autism to read a story to you, chances are that she or he will read with an almost robotic voice, word for word, with no expression. [....] Good readers actually 'hear' the story in their heads; there’s a voice or a narrator operating in our minds as we read a narrative" (Finegan).

This "narrator" helps us interpret what is going on in a text and exercise appropriate emotion and tone when reading aloud, but when autistic students struggle with this, their comprehension is impaired. With reader's theater, by taking on the role of a character rather than just a storyteller, children can better develop an “internal narrator” which can become an automatic part of their reading process and improves comprehension.

The benefits of reader's theater extend beyond reading skills. Melissa Dubie states in her article for the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, "Theatre activities can be used to teach emotion recognition and expression, non-verbal behaviors and gestures, listening skills, eye contact, conversation skills, strategies to handle social situations, and critical social skills" (Dubie 2009). One group reported on in the article, known as Face Place, uses reader's theater with autistic teens. Educators have been amazed at the improved animation and expression demonstrated by readers after participating in these activities.

Playbooks® Special Education Kits are available, but depending on your students' abilities, use any Playbook® kit or story to fit your needs.

“Hearing the Story in Your Head: Role of Expressive Reading” by Sara Finegan
"Teaching social skills through theatre" by Melissa Dubie. The Reporter, 14(3), 8. 2009.

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