Ugh! If you’re at all like me, trying to READ with a group of students online is a nightmare worthy of Halloween. Connectivity issues, background noise, home distractions…these are problems regardless of the content. But the glitch that bugs me the most is … well, it’s ME! I’m constantly having to interrupt the “flow” in order to identify and cue the next reader. I use my annotation marker to scribble all over the screen. “Nate is up next, Cynthia is after that…” What exactly are we reading about? the kids must be thinking.
Let me offer the antidote: reader’s theater. Drama is traditionally a collaborative, in-person activity, so when we turned to remote instruction last spring, I assumed reader’s theater would be off the instructional table. What I’ve discovered since is that RT remains an excellent resource. This is why: when parts are assigned beforehand, students know when to come in. They know when to read, which means I can sit back and actually hear them.
On top of that, kids are often willing to read a script repetitively, which gets at fluency like nothing else. And when you tell them you’re going to practice for a week or two and then record your online session as a “Zoomer’s Theater” performance, they’re especially engaged.
Because it’s a performance, reader’s theater is also its own assessment. None-the-less, my plays come with comprehension activities that have been prepared for remote instruction using TpT’s digitizing tool (which turns them into fillable PDFs).
Of course, Halloween is going to look a lot different this year too, which makes some spooky “Zoomer’s Theater” a welcome addition to your remote instruction. Here are a few plays that your kids will love:
(Here I must interrupt our flow with a note about copyright…please be careful how you make Read Aloud Plays available to your students. Allowing your students to download a copy for use at home is encouraged, but make sure that download link is private. It should be within a passcode protected environment such as SeeSaw or Google Classroom. If the general public can see or print it, it’s a copyright violation.)