From Puppets & Magazines to Radio–
RT All Year Interviews Carol Montgomery
Former classroom teacher and homeschooling mother of four, Readers Theater All Year™ founder, Carol Montgomery, exposes the why behind her passion for Readers Theater in this revealing 2011 interview with Readers Theater All Year™.
RT All Year: Carol, you have been writing elementary program scripts and Readers Theater scripts since you were a single classroom teacher in the late 70's. What birthed that interest?
Carol: I used puppets in my work with children, but had to rewrite boring scripts sometimes. Oftentimes, I just used puppets spontaneously in the classroom.
Then, while I was pursuing my masters degree in education I took a class on Readers Theater--while I was teaching fourth graders. Although I was intrigued, there was no internet in those days, so there didn't seem to be many resources easily available for me.
When I attended a national conference seminar with Paul Russell it exploded Readers Theater into classroom fun beyond puppet scripts because then I had a few scripts from his book Readers Theater Comes Alive! (no longer in print, I think). Readers Theater became a permanent part of our elementary classroom.
My masters project was on Readers Theater. In fact, I was honored when my professor said I should look into publishing some of the scripts. (Smile.) I got married instead--with the masters in education and an emphasis in reading.
RT All Year: So, did you continue writing?
Carol: Actually, I had some health challenges and didn't do much until our kids were a bit older. I wrote an article for The Teaching Home Magazine entitled "Readers Theater for Everyone!" that was published in 1994.
I wrote some plays for our homeschooling fine arts festivals almost every year. We had a homeschool drama club that did many of them.
Basically, my writing has been off and on--more off in the past because of homeschooling all four kids constantly for over 23 years with personal health challenges.
RT All Year: How does your motto "Building Leaders and Creators™" relate to Readers Theater?
Carol: Well, you can thank the Home School Legal Defense Association [HSLDA] for that! (Smile.) When I wrote the article "Readers Theater for Everyone!" for The Teaching Home Magazine HSLDA somehow read it and called to interview me for their one-minute radio broadcast "Homeschool Heartbeat." I did five one-minute interviews with them that were broadcast on national radio every weekday for one week. That sparked my interest. Why WERE they interested in Readers Theater?
I assumed it was because Readers Theater helps build leaders--people who are confident and expressive in front of a group, unafraid of using a microphone to communicate. But, maybe they were interested in building stronger readers, too. There's an old saying, "Readers are leaders."
The motto "Building Leaders and Creators™" includes the creative facet because Readers Theater is a total language arts experience: reading, listening, speaking, thinking, and writing. Reading aloud expressively is creative. Writing is creative. Readers Theater All Year™ will help equip students--and some adults--in writing.
And, I expect us to dabble in some public speaking training. We need more culture creators not culture consumers.
RT All Year: And, why did you start Readers Theater All Year?
I know how difficult it is to find trustworthy scripts that actually convey content in an enjoyable manner. My goal is to provide quality scripts with annotated curriculum links for easy lesson plans. The Readers Theater (or puppet) scripts should fit well with unit studies or as part of a comprehensive reading program. I want to help simplify the teacher's life.
Some of the Readers Theater scripts will be my idea, but I intend on writing scripts for our community based on what teachers request, too; call them custom scripts, if you want.
Beyond my scripts, I'd like to help raise up some radical writers who will ignite a passionate wildfire of fun and truth. Sprinkle our fresh scripts liberally with a variety of free tips, tools, and techniques. Bake it with heart-warming love. We should have something delicious!
Fluffy spontaneously interviews Carol Montgomery in this short audio (nearly 11 minutes). In it you'll learn:
• 3 Simple Writing Ideas for Teachers (homeschool and traditional classroom)
• A Revolutionary Writing Curriculum Option
• Fluffy's confession