Reading fluency and automaticity are increasing concerns for educators who've begun to realize that kids need to be able to identify words immediately in order to foster effective comprehension and communication skills. To that end, Evan-Moor has produced a series of readers' theater books that have students reading the same selections over and over without getting bored.
There is one Leveled Readers' Theater book for each of grades 1-6. Every book includes 11 plays (except the grade one book, which includes 14), all with a variety of skill-level parts for students of differing abilities to master. Plays are a mixture of traditional stories and innocuous new tales (usually about animals, trucks, etc.).
Readers' theater is a form of theater in which actors simply read their lines, rather than memorizing them before a performance. In this case, students perform the brief plays over and over until they can read each line with ease, while also mastering inflection, character development, facial and vocal expression, and many more oral communication skills.
Each play includes teacher notes for instruction and guidance, reproducible fold-up scripts to distribute to each child, a vocabulary dictionary, and exercise pages to help kids understand the principles of plot and structure, comprehension, and sequencing. In the books for grades 4-6, students also rewrite the ending of each play.
As the series progresses, plays become more elaborate and more challenging, so you don't need to worry about students stagnating after a certain point. While individual families may have difficulty implementing these plays, they're great for classroom or co-op settings, as they really do foster the essential skills of reading fluency, automaticity, and verbal expression.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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