The DeWitt Community Library offers a Digital Reader’s Theater program for kids. It’s run by Paralibrarian Scott Mosher who does everything from choosing the script, working with the kids, recording the performance, and editing the recording.
If you were to google “reader’s theater”, you would get tons of results. It’s popping up all over. Teacher’s are using it as a tool in their classrooms to help their students develop fluency in reading and reading comprehension and to get them excited about reading. There are tons of free scripts available online as well.
Reader’s Theater is not the same thing as putting on a play. There’s no stage. There are no costumes or props. There’s no memorization involved. It’s all about reading. A script is divided up into parts and each student is assigned one or more parts to read/perform. As the kids become more comfortable reading together, they also learn to use inflection, varying their tone, accent, emphasis, etc.
Not all Reader’s Theater programs are digital, like the one at my library. Scott has added the extra element of recording the kids as they read. And the kids love speaking into the microphone. After he edits and polishes up the performance, and even adds a few sound effects, he posts the recording to the library’s SoundCloud page.
I was pleasantly surprised when Scott asked me about adapting my picture book The Peddler’s Bed into a Reader’s Theater script. I loved the idea! I typed up a first draft and then we worked together to mold it into a finished, kid-friendly script.
He and the kids recorded the story on December 19, along with The Polar Express. I happened to be working at the library that day and stopped in to chat with the kids a bit. It was neat to see the set-up of the room. Scott and Emily (one of the children’s librarians) were at a table with the four young participants, each of whom had a microphone sitting on the table in front of them and a copy of the script. Scott had his recording equipment in front of him. It was a simple, but effective set-up.
Scott completed the editing earlier this week, after asking me what style of background music I might like added. A couple of days later, it was done, and I couldn’t wait to hear it. Now that I have, I want to share it with you. The kids did a fantastic job! Thanks kids! And a huge thanks to Scott for his expert recording and editing skills, and for including The Peddler’s Bed in one of his awesome Digital Reader’s Theater programs at the DeWitt Community Library!
You will also find links to the Reader’s Theater script and the SoundCloud recording of The Peddler’s Bed on my Teacher’s Resources page along with other fun stuff.