More Variations on Reader's Theater

The classroom is so full of drama, you'd think it was a school teacher who said, "All the world's a stage." From the havoc caused by a bee, to the injustice of a letter grade, to the tragedy of a love triangle, high drama comes naturally to kids. Here's a handful of literacy-building ways to stage dramatic performances.

Radio Drama: You'll need a good tape deck, a microphone, and a quiet half hour when you and the actors can meet to record. Begin by introducing your class to some old-time radio drama such as The Green Hornet or Fibber McGee and Molly. Experiment with sound props, such as doorbells and footsteps, and be willing to rewind and redo a scene that doesn't come off well.

Puppet Shows: Integration with art is just one of many benefits to staging puppet shows. The fact that students are hidden sometimes helps them overcome their inhibitions and forces them to work on voice projection. Seek volunteers to assist in the classroom when making hand or finger puppets, but also watch for puppets at garage sales and discount stores. Imagine Paul Revere's Ride performed by frogs!

Television Production: If you're a bit of a techie and have access to video cameras and VCRs, consider producing a simple television show. Like radio drama, you have the opportunity to redo scenes, and you also have a finished product that can be copied and sent home. Be sure to promote the concept that, before you become a big star in Hollywood, you have to be a good reader in school.

Skits: As students become proficient with adapting stories, they can also recreate historical events in the form of skits. Individual scenes from history such as Washington's Crossing of the Delaware make great fodder.