Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Topic: Readers' Theater.

Purpose of this blog: Reviews of interesting ideas in past professional English education journals.

10-second review: The purpose of readers’ theater is to transform a short story into an informal play. Why? The students learn to read aloud with expression, to aid in the story’s interpretation, and learn how to prepare when reading  aloud in public.

Title: “Introducing: Readers Theater.” P Tahsliik. Journal of Reading (December 1978), 216-220.

Quote: “The basic procedure for readers’ theater is quite simple: a group of students selects a short story or other reading material, rehearses it as if it were a play—by choosing ‘parts’ and deleting certain phrases or passages that would interfere with an oral presentation (like ‘he said,’ or ‘she replied’), and then presents the story to the rest of the class. It is not necessary to memorize the parts although a thorough familiarity with the part is recommended to permit eye contract with the audience…. Props are not needed and staging is minimal.”

Comment: Takes a lot of preparation to do well. It seems to me that one of the forgotten skills in English is oral reading. I’m not talking about “round-robin reading,” in which each student in the class reads spontaneously without preparation in order to waste time. I’m talking about oral reading which the student prepares in order to read effectively to an audience. The skill is needed in civic meetings as well as informal presentations. And readers’ theater is an introduction to skillful oral reading to hold an audience. RayS.

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