Guided Reading Play Scripts (or Readers Theater). These ‘mini-plays’ offer the perfect way in to a topic. They introduce the characters from the time, plus the necessary background material; or can be used as a consolidation of a topic. With quizzes at the end of each group reader providing the perfect opportunity to assess the learning that has taken place.
Sets of 5. My Guided Reading Play Scripts (also referred to as ‘mini-plays’) are written in sets of 5. There are two reasons for this. (i) The scripts were written for a class of 30 – so it made sense to break that number down into 5 groups of 6 speakers (a manageable reading group size). (ii) I wanted to take 5 aspects of the subject and deal with them separately – so that I could comprehensively cover 5 different strands of teaching.
Quizzes. I produce a quiz at the end of each Guided Reading Play Script. Three reasons for this inclusion: (i) Children love quizzes! (ii) As a ‘test’ of how much learning has taken place, a quiz is a great assessment tool. (iii) It is an effective way of retaining the attention of non-speakers (if the group is reading to the rest of the class) – as everybody has to answer the questions at the end! i.e. no nodding off in the audience!
Different Ways of Using. As there are 5 Guided Reading Play Scripts, these can be used in a number of different ways, depending on time-scale i.e. How it can be fitted into the timetable. (i) Each group of 6 children may be given a different script, and a day for the reading of each script assigned to 5 different days of the week – so all 5 scripts are covered in the week. (ii) As for (i) but just one script/one group taken each week – to cover one half of term. (iii) One morning/afternoon or day could be set aside to cover all 5 scripts – maybe as a consolidation exercise, in the last week of the term.
Style – Different points of view. My style of writing is deliberately ‘argumentative’. This facilitates the expression of different points of view in a fun, non-threatening way. This is particularly useful when touching on ‘sensitive’ themes – such as differences between people of different background, bullying in school, etc. The expression of conflicting views is a great way in to a further discussion of the theme.
Emphasis on learning. With a few exceptions, my work tends to be based on the school curriculum. This was certainly my starting point in converting the whole UK History curriculum into play format. As a teacher at the time, I was writing expressly to deliver that curriculum i.e. everything a teacher would be required to deliver in his/her lesson time.
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