publication date: Nov 4, 2022
author/source: Carol Montgomery
I never met my friend, Tracy Hanson. But, she invited me up to her place on a lake in Maine. Tracy wrote an email to me at the beginning of the pandemic and shared her passion for Readers Theater.
Somehow, we connected and Tracy called me several times over the past couple of years. Tracy had a heart to help people in foreign nations learn English, build quality skills, and give back to their communities. She wanted a "tool" to help facilitate her vision. Readers Theater became that tool.
Tracy founded "Next Generation Global Education" (NGEE) and shared her "Matrix of a Learner" philosophy in several nations with educational leaders, teachers, and schools. For Tracy the "Matrix of a Learner" was designed to promote "a more responsible and collaborative society opening the doors for a more peaceful world." She chose to make a difference. Tracy impressed me with her enthusiasm for Readers Theater the first time I talked with her on the phone. She wanted a way to reach communities around the world.
She said, "I rummaged through my educational toolbox and discovered Readers Theater." That lit a fire of passion in her heart and mind.
So, Tracy created "Global Matrix Readers Theater" to fulfill her vision of training teachers from other nations online via Readers Theater. Since the world was "locked down," Tracy's free classes on Zoom grew and progressed. Eventually, several adults and children participated in Tracy's Global Matrix Readers Theater from a variety of nations to help teachers and their students improve their English skills. Some even learned to create their own Readers Theater scripts!
Tracy invited me many times to participate in her Global Matrix Readers Theater Zoom calls. Sadly, the calls were too early in the morning for my healing body. But, Tracy set her own symptoms aside and gladly served educators from many nations with her leadership and expertise. I was honored that she chose our script, "The Earth Day Hen and Friends" as one of the first Readers Theater scripts to share with teachers from different nations. [NOTE: Participants received the color-coded script PDF before the Zoom appointment. She color-coded the scripts instead of having her students color-code the speaking parts. Color-coding is not required for successful Readers Theater; however, some teachers prefer that their students have color-coded scripts to make a script less confusing to follow.]
Tracy's vision was similar to mine–a growing library of Readers Theater scripts. Ideally, the Readers Theater library would contain trustworthy scripts at no charge. (Tracy assumed that Readers Theater clubs would flood the nations and that the students would pay the facilitators for the privilege of being in the club–unless non-profits sponsored the clubs.)
Although our website offers both free scripts and scripts exclusive for paying members, we set an affordable membership price to pay for our business expenses. (I, Carol Montgomery, do not take a salary yet. Our Script Buffet Club members pay for this website.) Tracy was never able to create a large library of Readers Theater scripts, but she did create a growing global interest in the treasure of Readers Theater–especially for improving English reading and speaking skills.
Tracy's "Global Matrix Readers Theater" philosophy was creative and unique. Because Tracy loved people in all nations, she desired to use Readers Theater to help build a global community based on the English language. Here's a page with a short explanation of Global Matrix Readers Theater clubs (called "Families") with a video:"What is the Matrix–The Matrix of the Learner Philosophy." I love the fact that Tracy encouraged teachers and students to find ways to give back to their local communities.
In November 2022 I discovered that my Readers Theater friend, Tracy, had passed away from cancer in August 2022. I had written to her, but I didn't hear back. I knew she was physically challenged because she told me that in the spring–before her diagnosis, so I didn't try calling. The world lost a lovely person in Tracy. She was kind, giving, and dedicated. Tracy loved people and people loved her back. Her leadership, love, and expertise will be missed.
I have no clue if someone else will rise up and continue sowing into Tracy's legacy. But, I do know that I will continue to be a cheerleader for Readers Theater. Will you?