Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reader's Theatre (2)

In Reader's Theatre (1), I described my version of Reader's Theatre, and said that it's a great way to have kids interact with a story, and to develop their imaginations. I also love the fact that it allows kids who NEED to move the opportunity to link reading with movement. It's a fun activity for emergent readers when the script is kept simple, and they have enough chance to rehearse their part. And it's a wonderful chance for readers and audience to interact with literature.

If I'm creating a Reader's Theatre script, I usually write parts for narrator(s), characters, and a chorus. That's because my scripts are written with the classroom teacher in mind, and teachers usually need to find parts for thirty kids. If there is a lot of narration, I divide it as evenly as possible, with narrators taking turns.

So my script might look like this:

Script Snippet, based on The Three Bears

Narrator 1:
Once upon a time, there were three bears who lived in a little cottage in the woods.

Narrator 2:
Each morning, Mama Bear would put their porridge into three bowls.

A great big bowl for me, because I'm a great big bear! Grrrr!


A middle-sized bowl for me, because I'm a middle-sized bear. And proud of it!


And a tiny bowl for me because I'm a teeny tiny bear. Goo-goo!


If I base the script on a picture book, I don't use every word in the book, but try to choose the most important elements. I also use a mixture of my own words, and keywords from the story. If there is a special repeated phrase, like "
Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin", I make sure to include it. In the script above, I've used my imagination to begin to develop personalities for each of the bears.

Some writers include a part for speech tags in dialogue eg

And a tiny bowl for me because I'm a teeny tiny bear. Goo-goo!

said Baby Bear.

However, I think it gets old quickly. Like everything I describe here, play with it, and see what works best for you and your children.

Here is the method I use when devising a script. First, read the work it's based on several times. Then close it, and try to set out the main ideas in script form. Once you have a rough draft, go back to the story and check whether you've included the most important elements of it.

Next, check you have as many parts as you want, and that the script is divided approximately evenly between parts. See whether you can relieve the narrator load by giving a small part to a character, or check if there's an opportunity for the chorus to introduce some sound effects to enhance the story.

Finally, read the script aloud. Make changes as needed. Does it work as a story? Does it work as a piece of theatre? Is it true to the original? If not, maybe the original served as inspiration for a totally new story you've created. I don't think that matters at all.
The main idea is to encourage kids to interact with literature, and create something of their own, while developing literacy skills.

In Reader's Theatre (3), I'll describe how I introduce a script to a group of children who will perform it for an audience.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails