For many of us, public speaking ranks rather high on the list of “worst things ever.” In my experience, students don’t much like formal public speaking requirements, either. Speech-making and presentations can be painful and nerve-wracking, particularly for students who have little or no previous experiences with being in front of an audience. The fact remains, however, that Speaking and Listening standards must be addressed. Practically, after they leave school, students need to be prepared to present their ideas clearly and compellingly to audiences in a wide variety of real-world scenarios.
A fantastic way to begin to introduce students to public speaking is through readers’ theater, a low-impact play production in which students “perform” their parts by simply reading their lines from a script – no memorization necessary! With readers’ theater, students can practice their reading fluency, inflection and emphasis, and body language (an important piece of any sort of oral presentation) as a group, free from the terror of standing up alone in front of an audience. Readers’ theater productions can be as simple or as complex as you would like them to be: costumes and set dressing are optional, as is stage blocking or character movement. If you are looking to integrate readers’ theater into your class, take a look at these examples of scripts, available today on Brain Hive, and let the show go on!
- Reinforce students’ study of American historical events while practicing reading aloud with the History Speaks series of readers’ theater scripts, all of which dramatize important moments in American history from the perspective of a real young person who lived through them, like Enrique Esparza and the Battle of the Alamo, by Susan Brown (Millbrook)
- Experience a fresh spin on a classic story while studying the structure and conventions of fairy tales with your students with one of ABDO’s Readers’ Theater series scripts, such as The Princedom of Pea, by Nancy Wallace (ABDO).
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