Archive for December, 2012

How Much Can Kids Get From a Read Aloud Play?

Merry Christmas! For a look at how much can be done with read aloud plays, a Flip camera, and simple Movie Maker software, check out this sixteen minute movie based on A Christmas Carol. The script comes from the book, Read Aloud Plays: Classic Short Stories, while the actors include all thirty kids from my 5th grade classroom in southern Oregon. It’s just one more example of the great things that can be accomplished with read aloud plays. Enjoy!


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Free Necklace for the Holidays!

Okay, so maybe not an actual diamond necklace, but you can get a free electronic version of my play adaption, The Necklace, by clicking here. It’s Guy de Maupassant’s classic short story about a discontented housewife in turn-of-the-Century France. Although she has every reason to be happy, she makes a mess of her life when she loses a borrowed diamond necklace, which turns out to be false. It’s a compelling story, and a fun one for kids in the intermediate and middle school grades to enact. Although it isn’t implicitly Christmas oriented, it always seems appropriate for the holidays. The free play is courtesy of Scholastic’s Scope magazine. If you’re a middle school teacher and haven’t yet discovered Scope, check it our by clicking here. It’s a marvelous language arts classroom magazine with great stories and activities, stunning graphics, and a massive supply of supplemental online resources–well worth the price of a classroom subscription. And if you’re an elementary teacher, be sure to visit Scope’s sister publication, the immensely popular Storyworks classroom magazine. Like Scope, it puts your average language arts textbook to shame.

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Romeo Faceplants Off Elementary Stage!

Fortunately, fifth graders bounce. And because kids have a natural enthusiasm for acting out, the play always seems to go on. In the twenty years that I’ve been using read aloud plays in the classroom, I’ve seen just about everything: pratfalls, costume malfunctions, emergency ad-libs… And because read aloud plays are an effective way to teach fluency, comprehension, and content, I’ve also witnessed the blossoming of many a young reader. All of you who have made read aloud plays a staple of your reading instruction have no doubt had a play performance disaster, or coached a young Bill Shakespeare, or had an otherwise shaky reader come alive on stage. What are your favorite reader’s theater moments? Share your best drama disasters and most inspiring on-stage stories by e-mailing me at I’ll post as many as I can on my soon-to-be-launched website,, and in so doing encourage other teachers to utilize this amazing instructional method. To make it worth your while, I’ll even e-mail you a free play!

For those of you who’ve yet discover the magic of reader’s theater, download my free article Why Use Drama?, and then take a look at dozens of professionally-crafted read aloud plays at my storefront on TeachersPayTeachers. Happy directing!

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