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February Shortcuts: 5 February Readers Theater Ideas and Tips for Enjoying Readers Theater All Year

publication date: Jan 31, 2018
author/source: Carol Montgomery

Bug thumbnailFebruary makes me think of Groundhog's Day and Groundhog's Day makes me think of Waddles.  About fifteen years ago we moved to a less toxic house in a more rural area of Maryland.  Settlement day for the new house was January 15, our anniversary, and the day after an ice storm.  Ice sparkled like jewels in the trees.  We didn't know we had just bought buried treasures, too!

Spring came and our first treasure appeared.  Pudgy, curious, and hungry it munched grass in our backyard.  We recognized it as a groundhog (also known as a woodchuck).   We named it Waddles because groundhogs are so cute when they walk.  Trouble started when we realized Waddles lived under our shed and became a garden pest.

I won't tell you the rest of the story here, but I wrote a Readers Theater script based on our experience with Waddles, "Waddles, the Grateful Groundhog" in three parts for elementary students. So, here's a list of five February Readers Theater ideas starting with Groundhog's Day and Waddles:

1.  Groundhog's Day (Feb. 2)  

Encourage students to write their own Readers Theater scripts (fiction or non-fiction) based on groundhogs.  Animals make great Readers Theater characters.  In fact, although "Waddles, the Grateful Groundhog" is an exclusive Script Buffet Club members' script, we have also bundled all three parts into our "Waddles the Grateful Groundhog" character building Readers Theater script in our store. (Every script includes annotated curriculum links for easy lesson plans.)  

Your students could create a Readers Theater script comparing and contrasting beavers and groundhogs.  Maybe the Beavers play the Groundhogs and both teams win?

2.  Valentine's Day

Encourage students to research the heart and write their own non-fiction Readers Theater using that information. That's what I did in our Readers Theater script "Oh, My Heart, Heart, Heart"  (three different readability levels in the Script Buffet Table under "Health").  

Here's a fun part of this non-fiction health/science script:  Lub-dub. Lub-dub.  Lub-dub.  Lub-dub. Your students  could collect heart and heart-healthy facts.  Let them toss in a few choral lines: "Lub-dub.  Lub-dub.  Lub-dub.  Lub-dub"  and they'll be smiling.  (I had a fun, catchy rhyme in the script, but that's not necessary.)  The script nearly writes itself.  Easy, right?

If you're not a Script Buffet Club member you may find "Oh, My Heart, Heart, Heart Readers Theater with Flexi-Curric™" in our store for grades 3-8.  It includes thinking questions, extension activities, and three illustrated graphic organizers.  (Script Buffet Club members get a BIG discount when they're logged in and purchase store products.)  (NOTE:  The EASY and Simplified versions of "Oh, My Heart, Heart, Heart" should be available in our store by February 10, 2018.)

3.  Health

Stretch your heart unit into a full month of healthy non-fiction Readers Theater.  One of our popular scripts is loosely based on a nutrition unit I taught in the elementary classroom. The students became sugar spies at home by reading labels to find hidden sources of sugar (e.g., catsup or ketchup). 

I LOVE encouraging healthy eating!  One of our early scripts, "The Sugar Spies" allows me to share that love with students and teachers around the globe.  Although "The Sugar Spies" has a readability of grade 3.7, the topic and script should work well for grades 3-6 and some adult groups.  It's a full story so there are several pages in this popular free download.

4.  President's Day (U.S.)  

Choose historical fiction or fun facts Readers Theater to integrate history, reading, and speaking skills.  Our Script Buffet has four readability levels for the fun game-show Readers Theater, "President's Day Quiz Parade" (i.e., readability of grade 2.0, 3.7, 5.6, or 6.3).  So, your students in grades 2-8 can all enjoy this audience-participation Readers Theater script focused on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Do you know why Abraham Lincoln grew a beard?  The story about the little girl who wrote him is in our free Readers Theater script "Abraham Lincoln:  It's Lincoln Penny Day!"  The delightful story is based on a letter that the little girl wrote to Abraham Lincoln BEFORE he was president.  Her honest opinions still make me smile.  Based on historical documents, "Abraham Lincoln:  It's Lincoln Penny Day!" is perfect for elementary students.  There are two versions of the script (i.e., with and without audience participation), but I'm only giving you one link for the free Readers Theater "Abraham Lincoln:  It's Lincoln Penny Day!" and the second shorter version will be linked at the bottom of that page.

5.  Underground Railroad  

Choose historical fiction or fun facts Readers Theater to inspire your students with tales from the Underground Railroad.  I happen to live in Maryland where Harriet Tubman was born and raised.  Once I read her autobiography (as told to Sarah Bradford) I knew I had to write a collection of scripts about this courageous woman who led over 300 slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.  So far there are only two scripts about Harriet Tubman:  "Harriet Tubman, Alias Moses:  Joe's Journey" (free) and "Harriet Tubman, Alias Moses:  The Swamp Mystery" (for paying Script Buffet Club members).  Also, you'll find  two more general scripts about the Underground Railroad under the category Black History on our Free Scripts catalog page.

6.  BONUS:  Character Building 

Choose biographies, parables, and fables for stimulating Readers Theater discussions about character qualities.  Like Harriet Tubman's examples of courage, many of our Readers Theater scripts demonstrate positive character qualities in a non-preachy way.  Even Aesop's Fables can teach honesty.  Check out our free script "The Beaver and the Lumberjack" to see how.


Wow!  I think there are enough Readers Theater ideas for February to build leaders and creators with Readers Theater every week.  Weekly Readers Theater?  Why not?  You'll integrate reading , writing, listening, thinking, speaking, health, history, and character-building in one delightful activity.   Readers Theater is hidden treasure.  What treasures will you share in February?

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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