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December 13, 2018

Build Fluency with a Free Holiday Play for Struggling Readers

By Scholastic Editors
Grades 6–8, 9–12

    Key Takeaways:

    • Read-aloud plays are a fun and effective way to build the fluency of struggling readers in middle and high school.
    • Scholastic Action’s A Christmas Carol play was written specifically for striving readers. Download this play for free this holiday season.
    • The story of Ebenezer Scrooge provides a great opportunity to discuss empathy and connect your ELA lessons to Social and Emotional Learning.

    From comprehension to vocabulary, my below-level readers face a diverse set of challenges. But the one thing they all struggle with is reading fluency. Even when they comprehend what they’re reading, they have trouble pronouncing and decoding words quickly and accurately. So I give them all the practice I can by dedicating at least an hour a week to reading aloud. This gives them plenty of opportunities to build accuracy and automaticity, but it puts a lot of pressure on me to keep our read-alouds feeling fresh and fun.

    One of my favorite ways to shake up our read-aloud routine is to perform one of the plays from Scholastic Action magazine. These plays are perfect because they’re written at just the right level for striving readers in grades 6–12.

    Each monthly issue of Action is filled with accessible and exciting articles in awide range of genres, including nonfiction, fiction and debates — but when it comes to reading aloud, the plays are our favorite!

    ‘Tis the season to give! You too can share A Christmas Carol and all the teaching resources that come with it with your class for free.

        Download Your FREE A Christmas Carol Play and Teaching Package

    Not only is this holiday classic seasonally appropriate, but it also introduces students to a timeless story they might not otherwise encounter.

    Action always seems to make challenging genres engaging for my students with read-aloud plays adapted from myths, historical events and classic stories like this one.

    Setting the Stage: Pre-Reading Activities

    Before we start any read-aloud in my class, I like to preview all the new vocabulary my students will encounter in the text. By learning the correct pronunciations and meanings, my students are less likely to stumble over tough words while reading their lines. Thankfully, every Action article includes a vocabulary box at the beginning of the story. So I highly recommend you review words like charity, hobbles, withers and mourn before performing A Christmas Carol in your classroom.

    I also think it’s important to set a purpose for reading before embarking on a new text. This encourages students to keep an eye out while reading, especially when someone else is performing their lines. Like every article in Action, this feature comes with a lesson plan that will help you set a purpose for reading. This lesson has the perfect one:

    “Set the purpose for reading by telling students they will make inferences while reading A Christmas Carol. Explain that making an inference means using clues from the text to figure out something that isn’t directly stated.”

    Once we’ve set a purpose for reading, it’s time for you to play casting director and assign parts. The plays in Action are specifically created for classroom use, so they have plenty of roles. This one has 14 parts plus one more for a group. With just 12 students in my class, some students even got to double up.

    Now that all the roles are assigned, it’s time for the fun part — reading the play together! I try to listen carefully as each student reads their lines. It’s a great opportunity to assess their level of fluency.

    Encore!: Post-Reading Activities

    After we finished reading the play, it was time to discuss inferences. To match the accompanying lesson plan, the last page of the play features an activity all about inferencing. The activity is a perfect example of all the scaffolding supports you’ll find in every Action story. These five questions ask students to put themselves in the shoes of Ebenezer Scrooge and make a few inferences based on the text. My students did great! I was delighted at how invested they were.

    Speaking of Scrooge, this fictional character is perfect for making connections to Social and Emotional Learning. Even if your students don’t celebrate Christmas, there is so much to learn from Scrooge’s transformation from grumpy miser to joyous philanthropist.

    There’s also a worksheet on the Action website that explores this idea. This activity looks at how a character changes from the beginning of a story to the end. In it, your students will explore what was important to Scrooge, what he learned about himself, and how he treated people in his life. After my students answered these questions, we discussed them as a class. We talked about empathy and why it is so important. I was touched that my students immediately knew how and why they needed to put themselves in other people’s shoes — even if those shoes belonged to Ebenezer Scrooge!

    Happy Holidays from Action!

    I hope you and your class enjoy this holiday play as much as we did. It’s a really wonderful feeling to see this classic story brought to life for a new generation of students. It was such an important part of my holiday tradition growing up, and I’m glad I get to share it with students of every background.

    Throughout the year, Action brings dozens of exciting texts like this into my classroom. With online videos, multiple reading levels and a wide range of genres, Action is one of my favorite classroom resources. Every issue saves me time and helps me sharpen key skills like fluency.

    If you’re looking for a way to build the skills and confidence of your struggling readers, I recommend trying Action for yourself. With 40% off for the rest of the school year, it makes the perfect holiday gift for you and your class.

    Subscribe today and save 40%!

    But whatever is on your teaching Christmas list, I want to wish you and your students happy holidays from me and the team at Action. Make sure to check out their website in 2019 for a whole new year of amazing articles and resources made just for struggling readers.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Read-aloud plays are a fun and effective way to build the fluency of struggling readers in middle and high school.
    • Scholastic Action’s A Christmas Carol play was written specifically for striving readers. Download this play for free this holiday season.
    • The story of Ebenezer Scrooge provides a great opportunity to discuss empathy and connect your ELA lessons to Social and Emotional Learning.

    From comprehension to vocabulary, my below-level readers face a diverse set of challenges. But the one thing they all struggle with is reading fluency. Even when they comprehend what they’re reading, they have trouble pronouncing and decoding words quickly and accurately. So I give them all the practice I can by dedicating at least an hour a week to reading aloud. This gives them plenty of opportunities to build accuracy and automaticity, but it puts a lot of pressure on me to keep our read-alouds feeling fresh and fun.

    One of my favorite ways to shake up our read-aloud routine is to perform one of the plays from Scholastic Action magazine. These plays are perfect because they’re written at just the right level for striving readers in grades 6–12.

    Each monthly issue of Action is filled with accessible and exciting articles in awide range of genres, including nonfiction, fiction and debates — but when it comes to reading aloud, the plays are our favorite!

    ‘Tis the season to give! You too can share A Christmas Carol and all the teaching resources that come with it with your class for free.

        Download Your FREE A Christmas Carol Play and Teaching Package

    Not only is this holiday classic seasonally appropriate, but it also introduces students to a timeless story they might not otherwise encounter.

    Action always seems to make challenging genres engaging for my students with read-aloud plays adapted from myths, historical events and classic stories like this one.

    Setting the Stage: Pre-Reading Activities

    Before we start any read-aloud in my class, I like to preview all the new vocabulary my students will encounter in the text. By learning the correct pronunciations and meanings, my students are less likely to stumble over tough words while reading their lines. Thankfully, every Action article includes a vocabulary box at the beginning of the story. So I highly recommend you review words like charity, hobbles, withers and mourn before performing A Christmas Carol in your classroom.

    I also think it’s important to set a purpose for reading before embarking on a new text. This encourages students to keep an eye out while reading, especially when someone else is performing their lines. Like every article in Action, this feature comes with a lesson plan that will help you set a purpose for reading. This lesson has the perfect one:

    “Set the purpose for reading by telling students they will make inferences while reading A Christmas Carol. Explain that making an inference means using clues from the text to figure out something that isn’t directly stated.”

    Once we’ve set a purpose for reading, it’s time for you to play casting director and assign parts. The plays in Action are specifically created for classroom use, so they have plenty of roles. This one has 14 parts plus one more for a group. With just 12 students in my class, some students even got to double up.

    Now that all the roles are assigned, it’s time for the fun part — reading the play together! I try to listen carefully as each student reads their lines. It’s a great opportunity to assess their level of fluency.

    Encore!: Post-Reading Activities

    After we finished reading the play, it was time to discuss inferences. To match the accompanying lesson plan, the last page of the play features an activity all about inferencing. The activity is a perfect example of all the scaffolding supports you’ll find in every Action story. These five questions ask students to put themselves in the shoes of Ebenezer Scrooge and make a few inferences based on the text. My students did great! I was delighted at how invested they were.

    Speaking of Scrooge, this fictional character is perfect for making connections to Social and Emotional Learning. Even if your students don’t celebrate Christmas, there is so much to learn from Scrooge’s transformation from grumpy miser to joyous philanthropist.

    There’s also a worksheet on the Action website that explores this idea. This activity looks at how a character changes from the beginning of a story to the end. In it, your students will explore what was important to Scrooge, what he learned about himself, and how he treated people in his life. After my students answered these questions, we discussed them as a class. We talked about empathy and why it is so important. I was touched that my students immediately knew how and why they needed to put themselves in other people’s shoes — even if those shoes belonged to Ebenezer Scrooge!

    Happy Holidays from Action!

    I hope you and your class enjoy this holiday play as much as we did. It’s a really wonderful feeling to see this classic story brought to life for a new generation of students. It was such an important part of my holiday tradition growing up, and I’m glad I get to share it with students of every background.

    Throughout the year, Action brings dozens of exciting texts like this into my classroom. With online videos, multiple reading levels and a wide range of genres, Action is one of my favorite classroom resources. Every issue saves me time and helps me sharpen key skills like fluency.

    If you’re looking for a way to build the skills and confidence of your struggling readers, I recommend trying Action for yourself. With 40% off for the rest of the school year, it makes the perfect holiday gift for you and your class.

    Subscribe today and save 40%!

    But whatever is on your teaching Christmas list, I want to wish you and your students happy holidays from me and the team at Action. Make sure to check out their website in 2019 for a whole new year of amazing articles and resources made just for struggling readers.

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