Mrs. Christy Woodward, a first-year, second-grade teacher at Prevail Academy created a Reader’s Theater for her classroom, an immersive reading program that aims to help her students develop a passion for reading by giving them a confidence boost through performance.
The Reader’s Theater is a stage, complete with theater popcorn, a theater-style curtain, and stage lighting that provides scholars with the opportunity to act out their reading in a live performance. During the opening performances, students were able to play fun and exciting roles including narrators, bears, goats, trolls, and pigs.
“She [Mrs. Woodward] was so excited about this!” said Lindsey Glazer, reading specialist at Prevail Academy.
Students have enjoyed working on Reader's Theater to improve decoding, fluency, and expression. The students have put on four performances so far this year including “The Three Little Pigs,” “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” “Billy Goats,” and “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
Mr. Weigle, principal at Prevail, joined in on the fun as a special guest. He surprised students by playing Jack's mother in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” “He had the kids laughing!” said Glazer.
Mrs. Woodward had two goals in creating this engaging lesson. The first was to enhance the students’ reading skills and confidence through repeated practice with a purpose. The second aimed to help boost their love of reading.
“I have noticed a change in Christy's readers,” said Glazer. “When I pull them for Guided Reading, they aren't as reluctant to start reading, and they are excited to learn something new. Their confidence has definitely grown. Watching them perform was the icing on the cake.”
After watching the students perform, Ms. Glazer asked Mrs. Woodward about using this tool in her classroom. “She told me she could tell the students enjoyed it so much, so she kept on doing it,” said Glazer. "They were having fun and reading should be fun!"