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Fifty Fabulous Fables--Beginning Readers Theater

publication date: Oct 20, 2010
author/source: Carol Montgomery

Review: Fifty Fabulous Fables--

Beginning Readers Theater

Fifty Fabulous Fables--Beginning Readers Theater
(©1997) by Suzanne I. Barchers, Ph.D. presents, you guessed it--fifty of Aesop's Fables done Readers Theater style for early readers.  What does that mean?  That means the author of this wonderful library book has focused on beginner readers by evaluating each script with the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale and then grouped the scripts accordingly into sections.  Section one is for students with a first-grade readability level, section two for second-grade readability level, section three for third-grade readability level, and section four for a fourth-grade readability level.  Of course, that does not guarantee that students at each level could fluently read every word.  It only means the teacher has a clue on how difficult the scripts may be according to a readability scale.

Teacher-friendly for Early Elementary Grades

Even without the readability sections, Dr. Barchers has done a thorough job introducing the basics of Readers Theater and making it easy to use her scripts in a classroom.   An experienced educator, administrator, publisher, and affiliate college professor, she knows the value of suggestions for the teacher.  Her introduction includes information on preparation, presentation, props, and delivery.  And, each script has more specific suggestions (i.e., presentation, props, delivery) to encourage success.

Short, Easy Scripts

All of the scripts in this paperback volume are one or two pages in length.  That works well for new readers, but sometimes the stories seem a little dry.  Of course, Aesop's Fables are not known for being humorous, only witty.  And Dr. Barchers makes sure the moral of the story is clear at the end of every script.  The scripts are in a larger print, so copying for educational purposes would be simple.  The author also uses numbered lines--as used in some plays--for the teacher/director to easily refer to a particular location.  Maybe it's personal preference, but I prefer fewer distractions on a young reader's page.  The small pen and ink illustrations or silhouettes are delightful with each easy script.


A Fables Unit

The appendix to Fifty Fabulous Fables--Beginning Readers Theater offers a potpourri of creative ideas for doing a unit study on fables.  Starting with a brief history of fables, Dr. Barchers goes on to explain what fables are and offers current titles (e.g., Fables by Lobel).  She suggests many activities from art to writing, plus mentions typical theme topics in fables (e.g., flattery, fear, rescue).  Finally, she lists references and a bibliography.

Before I would purchase this book I would try to check it out at the library.  The scripts are so short it wouldn't take long for enthusiastic readers to finish quickly.  Also, since Aesop's Fables are so popular I would consider different versions of the same fable;  some scripts are more fun to read and hear than others.  This book is perfect for someone in a hurry to have a one or two-page script with a moral at the end.  It's also perfect for someone who is insecure about choosing Readers Theater scripts and wants a lot of scripts categorized by the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale.  I'll probably just borrow it from the library and continue to write longer scripts sprinkled with humor.

Readers Theater All Year™ LLC builds leaders and creators for positive influence through an inexpensive, easy, flexible system.  Readers Theater All Year™ LLC curriculum services provides a caring community for using and creating Readers Theater scripts for families, classrooms, homeschools, camps, and drama clubs.

Praise from Teachers

...Keep doing what you are doing.  There are not enough quality scripts available for children and teens.  So many are inappropriate from a parent's perspective.  As a teacher I want to also build character and integrity while I teach a subject.  Why can't drama build up, inspire and be thought provoking?...Anyway, keep doing what you're doing...we need all the help we can get!
Jen H., Drama teacher

> ...I have been teaching for 35 years. RT has been part of my education journey for the majority of that time. Initially my experience with it was as a performance genre in the Drama Curriculum. Now I use it across the curriculum - a wonderful high motivation strategy in the language program - particularly reading - and so much more as you would know. I was drawn to your 'community' by the idea of leadership... I think what you're doing is wonderful..."
Graham B. Former primary teacher (now a Visual Art and Drama specialist)

Readers Theater All Year is the most comprehensive collection of Readers Theater scripts and resources I have found on the internet!...Thank you Carol for your leadership and vision and for making Readers Theater so accessible for teachers and parents.
Daniel Fiore, Elementary teacher/author What They Have Taught Me

I found the free readers theater online scripts, teaching tips, and curriculum teleseminars at Readers Theater All Year very inspirational to me. I used the Twelve Days of Christmas...Vacation script in my ESOL classes before Christmas break and my students all enjoyed it..
Lily T. Teacher (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

"> ..We did Squanto's Squash for the family on Thanksgiving and [my sons] participated and loved it. I am so excited about making this a major part of homeschooling. What a great way to learn!
Bethany P. Homeschooling Mom

> our script "The Earth Day Hen and Friends" I've used this! The kids love it. Thank you for sharing...It's just right for all levels in the class...Your free scripts are wonderful!...They learn so much from drama and reader's theatre...I see the shy ones gain confidence as they read. Fluency and prosody increases with reader's theatre...
Angela D., 3rd grade teacher

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