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Project Based Learning
With Reader's Theater
and Community Outreach

Project Based Learning is a new highly recommended trend in 21st Century Community Learning Centers and other After School programs, designed to help students "learn by doing." Projects are usually designed to help students develop their communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills in authentic activities, often through community involvement.

You can help your students gain valuable real life skills by directing a project in which students reach out to families with younger children (of reading age) in local neighborhoods to work on literacy and encourage parent reading involvement. Your After School students can work in an big brothers/big sisters sort of arrangement to do reader's theater with kids and their parents over a 1-2 week span (or longer if time allows), and plan a reader's theater performance at the end of the period to showcase the project!

(Image) Kids doing reader's theater together

First, familiarize your students with reader's theater and expressive reading and have them read one or more scripts at their own content and reading level. Next, meet with the participating families and let your students introduce what they already learned about reader's theater to the younger children, and have them also perform fun acting demonstrations. Then, your students can come together to form small groups with the families and take part in a reader's theater script together.

The content chosen for this activity should be of a level appropriate to the younger children, but multi-leveled scripts allow everyone to read at his or her own ability level so the reading practice remains valuable for students of all ages. Playbooks® multi-story kits come with the tools you need to easily assign roles based on age and/or any knowledge you may have of the students' reading skills. With younger students taking easier roles and older students and parents taking more difficult roles in the same script, the younger readers are exposed to richer vocabulary than they would be able to read on their own. If parents are non-fluent in English, they can also take easier roles.

After conducting as many sessions as your program wishes, (it's best to try to read each script 3 times if possible to meet the recommendations of Repeated Guided Oral Reading), your students and their "little brothers and sisters" will be ready to perform the story for an invited audience and show off their accomplishments! With this project, your students will benefit from the experience of teaching younger kids and will help make a difference in their communities, while all that are involved build read-aloud confidence!

Literacy Instruction For Boys:
Give Them the Books They Want to Read!

(Image) Boy Loves Reader's Theater
The issue of engaging boys in reading is gaining attention in recent years, as more and more statistics show that boys consistently score lower than girls in language arts on standardized tests. Boys also display less interest in reading at school and often consider themselves non-readers at home.

Clearly, boys can and do learn to love and succeed at reading, but typically they need the right kind of instruction and opportunities to do so, especially as they enter middle school!

Boys typically enjoy:

  • Books that address their goals and activities they are interested in, often sports, science, etc.
  • Books that are humorous, mischievous,
    and make them laugh
  • Books that contain a lot of action
  • Books in the science fiction or fantasy categories
  • Reading activities that are social
  • Reading activities that allow active participation and instruction rather than quiet study

Reader's theater offers an active, social reading experience that often results in infectious laughter, making it an ideal strategy for helping bring out boys' enthusiasm. Reader's theater also helps students to be able to visually see the story unfold, another aspect that tends to increase boys' interest and comprehension. Furthermore, theater arts let boys explore emotion in a way that feels safe and acceptable, leading to more enjoyment of the activity. Scripts are available in a wide array of genres that will appeal to male students.

Playbooks® Reader's Theater stories are carefully crafted to appeal to students with content and lessons they can easily relate to, and humor is always included to help put readers at ease with their peers and reach their expressive reading potential. Scripts are balanced for small groups so everyone gets to read regularly throughout the story, making the most of the social aspect of reader's theater.

Add these Playbooks® with boy-friendly themes to your curriculum:

The Great Rhyme Travel Machine III: Saving
     Planet Earth (Ecological Science, Gr. 3-6)
My Wide World of Sports (Sports and Fitness, Gr. 3-6)
The Baseball Equation (Math and Sports, Gr. 4-6)
How Sandy Got Her Spin (Sports and Goals, Gr. 4-7)
Planet Parade (Space Science, Gr. 4-7)
Who Gives a Hoot (Nature Science, Gr. 4-8)
Soccer Stars (Sports, Jealousy, and Forgiveness,
     Gr. 4-9)

Surfing at Sunrise (Sports Practice and Competition,
     Gr. 6-9)

Mission Humanity (Science Fiction, Gr. 6-12)

Observe School Lunch Week, October 10-14
With Healthy Themed Reader's Theater

October 10-14 is National School Lunch Week! There is still time to include the Playbooks® Healthy Themes Kit for Grades K-5 in your curriculum for the week by placing a rush order, or to follow up your healthy eating unit with themed literacy building. This kit includes 9 stories with topics of healthy eating, illness prevention, fitness, hydration, and caring for your teeth. Materials include 6 copies of each title (one for each reader), Recommended Reader Assignment Charts, Teacher Guide, Step-by-Step Implementation Packet, Implementation DVD with instructor and student portions, Cross-Curricular Supplemental Activities, and Performance Award Certificates.

Only $449, with everything you need for successful implementation!

Win this Healthy Themes Kit Valued at $299!
View Options and Purchase.

Stories included....
(View Story Synopses and Details.)

Water Works (Gr. Pre-K - 1)
Save Your Smile (Gr. Pre-K - 1)
The Three Goats Gruff Go to the Greener Side (Gr. K-2)
Ick! I'm Sick!
(Gr. 1-5)
My Wide World of Sports
(Gr. 3-6)
Mini, the Super Watermelon
(Gr. 2-6)
Fabulous Food Detectives
(Gr. 4-6)
How Sandy Got Her Spin (Gr. 4-7)
    (Story includes a DVD with real footage of Sandy "Spin" Slade as she performs basketball tricks, talks about     what motivated her career, and shares an important message with kids.)
The Veggie Rap
(Gr. 4-8)
    (Story includes a Mini-Rap that students can memorize and perform and an audio CD with a performance     of the Mini-Rap and a music track for students to use when performing the Mini-Rap.)

Free Reader's Theater For Halloween

With Halloween coming up, students are sure to be anticipating costumes and candy. Catch their attention in the classroom with fun Playbook® stories, How to Catch Monsters and Bats in the Belfry, our featured books for October. The first story is designed for younger primary students and the second is appropriate for Middle School students. How to Catch Monsters turns a creepy adventure into surprise friendship when two kids discover that the monsters lurking in their house are actually nice and only want to eat bugs, not people! Bats in the Belfry features a vampire look-alike in bat form and teaches a lesson in history, telling the story of the Great Fire of London from an imaginative perspective. Excerpts from these Playbooks® are available free for classroom use in PDF format by clicking here.

(Image) Barnabus Bat

Feature Stories of the Month
Monsters and Bats For Halloween

(Image) How to Catch Monsters

How to Catch Monsters

An Original PlaybooStory

Content for Grades 1 - 3
Reading Stages 1 - 3

Written by: Sharon Brinkerhoff
Illustrated by: Antonio Nilo

It was Saturday and, as usual, Amanda ran out to play. On this particular Saturday, however, Amanda was in for a scary surprise! Three frightening monsters were in her yard - and they were hungry! From her hiding place behind the bushes, she heard them talking about eating and suspected she and her brother, Josh, might be the main course. Josh and Amanda needed help. Their dad always knew what to do, but when they told him about the monsters, he didn’t believe them. How could they possibly catch the monsters before being caught themselves? How can kids catch monsters, anyway?

(Image) How to Catch Monsters Characters

Click here to view summary and image of each character.

October Special

Get $30 off any order that includes a story set with STEM content or a Halloween theme.
(applicable titles shown below)

Use Coupon Code
on your PO:

Playbooks With
STEM Content

Bug Off (Gr. K-2)
The Glub Club
(Gr. K-3)
The Great Rhyme Travel Machine     III: Saving Planet Earth
(Gr. 3-6)
Tiny Heroes of the Waves
(Gr. 3-6)
The Baseball Equation
(Gr. 4-6)
Rikki Tikki Tavi
(Gr. 4-7)
Planet Parade
(Gr. 4-7)
Who Gives a Hoot
(Gr. 4-8)

Halloween Stories

How to Catch Monsters (Gr. 1-3)
Bats in the Belfry (Gr. 6-9)


Featured Free
"All About Reader's Theater"
Gestures and Body
Language Enhance
Reading Comprehension

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

(Image) Bats in the Belfry Cover

Bats in the Belfry

An Original PlaybooStory

Content for Grades 6 - 9
Reading Stages 4 - 6

Written by: Patricia Fine
Illustrated by: Liliane Grenier

Middle School students who love Batman will enjoy going back to the original "Bat Men" (and Bat Women) by portraying these characters, including Barnabus, a Count Dracula look-alike, in a creative story with Social Studies content. The excitement begins when a group of bats join forces to prevent their home from going up in flames during the Great Fire of London (1666). It is on historic record that St. Botolph's, Aldersgate was one of the few important buildings left standing after this major disaster, which destroyed over thirteen hundred dwellings and other buildings in the city, including St. Paul's Cathedral. This story imaginatively tells what might have happened when the bats of London, who were despised and suspected of spreading diseases, came together, cooperated, and saved the day. Readers will love going "bats" with these interesting characters. Is Barnabus really a vampire? Your students can decide!

2011 Catalog
Updated with many new titles!
(Image) New 2011 Catalog
Download here or
request a bound catalog!

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Approval Information, click here.

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