Reader’s theater (RT) is used by corps members in our elementary schools to develop students’ fluency and comprehension skills through sharing literature, reading aloud, performing with a purpose, and working collaboratively. At Beech Street Elementary, RT consists of kids rereading their scripts aloud, highlighting their parts, reading with emotion, and working together on creative projects.
Theatre was one of my majors in college. Without hesitation, I signed up to lead RT after school at Beech Street Elementary. Rachel Ihde, a corps member serving in the third grade, is my fellow facilitator. Ms. Ihde was thrilled to join my efforts in promoting theatre while encouraging students to read. She is experienced with musical theatre, which led me to believe that this was going to be an extraordinary adventure.
That’s exactly how it turned out too. The purpose of RT is not to create thespians of elementary school students, rather to excite children to read aloud and read often. The kids thoroughly enjoy practicing their lines, constructing shoe box sets, and reciting tongue twisters like “You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York.”
Rachel and I had no idea that creating an after school club could lead a child to become so excited for Tuesday afternoons, that she accidentally spilled her yogurt on the floor.
“Ms.Hidalgooooo, it’s finally Tuuuueeesssdaaaay!” She exclaimed.
Little did she know that the positive reaction she had towards City Year and Reader’s Theater, for that split second, is the reason why I serve and why I will continue to pursue a career in educational theatre. I look forward to the successes Rachel, our students, and I will share in RT sessions to come. End scene.