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Getting Ready For the Year: Organize
Your Classroom For Success!
Plus, Set Up a Creative Costume Corner
For Expressive Reading

Educators in an Italian town internationally known for its excellent educational programs consider the physical classroom environment "another teacher." This is because the arrangement and the items in your classroom can be powerful influences for student motivation, behavior, and interest.

Vary the Environment: Student focus can be affected strongly by factors such as light, heat, and noise levels, and student preferences vary widely. It is helpful to create areas in your classroom that differ in these ways.

Engaging Decor: Make sure to decorate your walls with colorful posters, bulletin boards with clear purposes, and student work. Download our free printable reader's theater wall decorations, shown on the right.

Creative Corners: Centers for various subjects and activities are a great way to divide classroom space to enhance student interest. Separate areas for music, student discussion, art, and more can create a sense of freshness to better hold student attention.

Get a New Creative Costume Corner Kit!

Make a character role station for expressive reading with our Creative Costume Corner Kit below, which includes 16 "Change the Way You Say It" sentence cards and 10 costume items. Students are first asked to read their sentence card without a costume, and then to put on a costume item and read the sentence again! It's amazing how students change their expressive voices to become their character, usually without prompting!

(Image) Creative Costume Corner Kit

Or, download our sentence cards for free
and use your own costumes!

Set the Stage With Free Reader's
Theater Wall Decorations

For the back to school season, Playbooks® is providing free printable decorations for your classroom to get students into the spirit of reader's theater and expressive reading success!

These role-playing kids and fun reading quotes can be pieced together in a single colorful display, guided by our instruction sheet, or placed around the room however you wish!

Download the full size images below, print out on 8.5 x 11 paper (use card stock paper if possible for sturdier decorations), and cut them out. Then either follow the cutout arrangement guide included in the document or place them on walls however you wish.

(Image) Free Reader's Theater Decorations

Download Free Reader's Theater
Classroom Decorations!

Playbook® Kits and Sets Include Cross-Curricular Supplemental
Activity Packets Specially Designed to Meet Standards

(Image) Example of Supplemental Activity Packet

Playbooks, Inc. provides classroom activity outlines and worksheets for most scripts to reinforce concepts from the story and go beyond the story into other academic content areas.

Supplements are carefully designed to meet our standardized guidelines; each must contain activities from at least three main content areas (Math, Science, Social Studies, or Language Arts) and activities from at least two secondary content areas (Art, Music, Health, Drama, Character Education, etc.) Other items of importance include discussion prompts, web or library activities, critical thinking and assessment, and take-home worksheets to involve parents.

View Supplemental Activity Packets and Learn More

Research Corner: Learn What Experts Have Discovered, and Get a Free Script
and Reader's Theater Activity

Engaging Middle School Students
It can often be a challenge to engage middle school students in reading activities in school, but reader’s theater has the characteristics to overcome this issue. Researchers quoted one middle school student: “Reading is OK. I don’t usually read a lot because I like to skateboard, listen to music, and talk to people. I like social things and reading is not very social (Perrone 2001). Surveys show that middle school students feel that their reading in school is related to other academic tasks, such as learning about a subject and answering questions. On the other hand, their out-of-school reading incorporates personal and social activities (Ivey 2001). Reader’s theater allows students to laugh and interact with their peers, and can show students how reading can be social and fun, even in an educational setting!

Attending to Special Needs
When doing reader's theater with special needs students, or your most struggling readers, there are some useful strategies you can follow for making the activity most productive for everyone. First, choose shorter scripts with a lot of humor, which is particularly helpful for students on the autism spectrum
(Finegan 2009). Spend more time than usual on pre-reading the script and expressive reading practice to help students internalize the method, and more than the typical 3-4 repetitions of the script in small groups will be beneficial if student attention continues, which it often does (Corcoran 2005). You can also pair a stronger reader with a lower level reader to share a role, and write vocabulary words on the board and have students act them out to ensure understanding while providing an additional theater arts opportunity.

Playbooks® Provides Story Coupon For YMCA ARTS Week
YMCA's Arts Week is October 3-9, 2011. For this event, Playbooks® is providing a coupon for a free Download Print script. For any YMCA showcasing theater arts next month, download our flyer for more information!
(Image) Playbooks Flyer For YMCA Arts Week - Get Coupon Code


(Image) Title I Logo
Reader's Theater:
More Than Reading Enrichment!

Powerful Fluency Building For Title I Programs and More

While reader's theater is gaining popularity as a reading enrichment tool in After School programs, it remains an excellent method for focused fluency growth in Title I and regular school day curriculum. The following is well-established in the area of literacy development:

"Reader's theater provides readers with legitimate reason to reread text and to practice fluency. Reader's theater also promotes cooperative interaction with peers and makes the reading task appealing" (U.S. Department of Education, 2001).

"Fluency is the crucial bridge between word recognition and comprehension. And repeated oral readings are a key method for building fluency in all students." (National Reading Panel, 2000)

Improving Read Aloud Skills With Student Recordings
Studies have shown that while it is effective for students to listen to recordings of other students or adults reading, it is even better when students can record and listen to themselves reading in order to assess for areas of weakness and growth. Research has shown student interest is also in line with this strategy. One study found the following students were asked which strategy of reading aloud helped them the most:

  • 49% of students reported they preferred watching and critiquing themselves reading aloud on video
  • 30% preferred reading with a group
  • 20% chose echo reading with a teacher
  • Only 1% wanted to read a text silently before reading it aloud.
Based on these findings and other research, it is clear the more popular (and effective!) choice is usually having students read a script for the first time in their small, non-threatening groups with the more advanced students serving as reading guides; in this scenario the magic and interest of the story is most fully maintained.
(Image) The Veggie Rap Download Print Title Page

Free Recording Activity With Healthy-Themed Script
and Reader's Theater Recording For Grades 4-8

To get started on the video or audio recording strategy indicated above, use this Download Print version of the Playbook® script, The Veggie Rap, with your students. The story is accompanied by a recording of a Mini Rap based on the story performed by teens, for your own students to listen to and practice. You can record your students performing the Mini Rap to the provided background music track, or even the whole story, and then they can listen and critique themselves. Repetition of this process will illuminate progress and build self-esteem as students see themselves improve!

Download The Veggie Rap Story (Includes Words to Mini Rap)
Download the Mini Rap Performed by Teens
Download the Background Music Track for the Mini Rap

Feature Stories of the Month
The Mustermill Project Series
- Discover a Captivating Mystery

(Image) Book Covers

An Original PlaybooSeries

Content for Grades 4 - 8
Reading Stages 2 - 6

(varies slightly based on individual title)

Written by: Louise Shultz
Illustrated by: John Portez

Book 1: Watchamacallit Wizardry
Book 2: The Mustermill Project
Book 3: Protecting the Magic

Watchamacallit Wizardry: Billy loved anything that was unusual or mysterious. He would often go on adventures and would pretend to be a wizard seeking the answers to life's funny riddles. Little did he know his curiosity was about to lead him into a truly magical world, far beyond anything he had ever imagined. Only this world wasn't make believe, this time it was for real. Billy would find himself in a truly wonderful place, filled with the mystery and adventure he had always longed for. Even better, for reasons beyond human comprehension, he was meant to enter this special realm. Why he was led there, however, would prove to be the greatest mystery of all.

The Mustermill Project: Billy is back, and the marvels he encounters are more fabulous than ever! Billy and his friend, Casey, dedicate themselves to researching the mysteries surrounding old Mac Vervill's farm. The strange phenomena never cease, and the more they learn, the more they want to know. As they study the incredible magical waterfall, the gigantic plants, the exploding flower bulbs, and the glowing gold rocks, they feel they are on the verge of making a big discovery. If they could just fit all the pieces together, they think they just might find out what's behind it all.

September Special

Order $150 or more, and
get a free Creative Costume Corner Kit at $30 value!

(Image) Creative Costume Corner Kit

Use Coupon Code
on your PO:



Featured Free
"All About Reader's Theater"

Put Parent/Family Night in
the Spotlight This Year
With Reader's Theater

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

Protecting the Magic: In this intriguing sequel, Billy and his best friend, Casey, are growing up and helping old Mac with chores at his farm. When Mac’s dog uncovers a Native American artifact out in the cornfield, the boys jump back into the farm's mystery. With new clues at every turn, Billy and Casey are more excited than ever to find out the origin of the magic they’ve encountered. Meanwhile, Billy’s father has joined the project and is working on experiments that could lead to amazing scientific advances! When a nosy stranger shows up at Mac’s farm, Casey, Billy, and his father realize the importance of protecting the secret from discovery and misuse. In this series finale, some magical history that was nearly lost may be saved as they explore their American Indian roots, and those of the farm, too! Note to Educators: This story contains themes of energy conservation and alternative fuel development.

Louise Shultz,
Author of
The Mustermill
Project  Series

Shirley Cleveland

(Image) Protecting the Magic Characters

Click here to view summary and image of each character in Protecting the Magic.
(Click on the story names above to see specific character information for other books in series.)
A note from the author, Louise Schultz: "Writing the series was a very important time for me as I had just moved to a new state and I had not made many friends yet, so the books became my outlet.  Writing was all consuming as I ate and slept it constantly. I can't tell you how many chapters I wrote in the middle of the night in my head, and how thrilled I was when somehow they stuck, and I managed to actually put them on paper the next day. Characters kept creeping into the stories from my childhood when our family farmed in New Hampshire. Douglas McKenzie was a neighbor whose folks were chicken farmers. We used to run through the huge chicken house so the birds would squawk and try to fly. Mac was the neighbor across the road from and a best friend of my parents. My mother's name was Nettie so you can see I modeled these characters after real people in my childhood. I found myself in moments of sheer inspiration and I think that's when inspiration and imagination became friends to create this whimsical series."

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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