Readers' Theater Class For Junior High and High School Homeschool

This year at our co-op I got to try something a little different and I have been enjoying it so much! As members we all get to teach a class, and some of my past classes have been Cooking 101, Blogging, and some crafting. This class, based on vocal drama, was originally inspired by a wonderful memory I have of reading a play aloud in 8th grade, called 12 Angry Men.

From this tiny seed of an idea I began researching what kind of class I could offer. No homework, except reading if they want to, or watching a movie, would be necessary. There are a few good sites on the web that talk about Readers' Theater, but not exactly homeschool friendly. So I created my own binder of ideas by cutting and pasting what I thought would work.

One of the other moms and I also acted out a short two person play to give them an idea of how a performer should act. You can also find some clever YouTube videos that can show a group working together.

Note: Some homeschoolers are advanced readers and some are not, so you have to be patient when there is a little difficulty in the reading. I have encouraged the other students to chime in with the correct pronunciation etc., which gets me off the hook. Everyone seems to take it all in stride.

The Reason For Readers' Theater

Theatrically, RT allows teachers to focus on the aural nature of a piece of literature. What do the characters sound like? How do you vocally interpret the characters? What kind of expression will you use? What images are created through the words? 

RT is an effective method for building fluency and comprehension. The more a student reads aloud, the easier reading becomes, the easier understanding occurs.
Reading aloud also helps to build reader confidence.

Start off your class with a warm up, physical and vocal. Be silly and get them laughing. We try to play a game each week and practice our reading the rest of the time. If there a several absent we will watch the coordinating movie of the play, such as Jane Eyre or The Importance of Being Earnest.

Here was our reading list for the first semester:

Here is what I gathered in my RT folder (Games, practice, and warm ups and some plays in Google Drive).

A good place to start online:

We purchased this book so we could have plenty of games to fall back on if we need them:

Here's a video of our performance of Where The Wild Things Are:

Good luck if you are trying and/or teaching Readers' Theater for the first time. I have had many of my students say that this is their favorite class!! Email me if you need more details or would like to add a link to your class.

Happy Reading!

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