Report from the Field on Readers Theatre – Robert Harrell

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7 thoughts on “Report from the Field on Readers Theatre – Robert Harrell”

  1. Sabrina Sebban-Janczak

    Thank you Robert,

    Would be a dream to have this on video. Although I read and understand what you eloquently described, a picture ( or a video in this instance ) is worth a thousands words. Does Jason have any of this on video that we could watch?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to get back to us and explain this. I would love to do this……

  2. Robert,

    Thanks for the description! As I am going to teach my first novel in January (Houdini) with my 2nd year 8th graders, I am quite interested in hearing how to do this. I do have some questions:

    When you talk about a narrator reading the text, you mean in English not TL, correct? The students hear English while they read the target language, right?

    But then, all the questions you ask are in TL?

    Finally, when does the acting take place? I imagine that is a separate element, not occurring while the narrator is reading in English (or am I mistaken).

    Obviously, I would LOVE to see a video of this in action.

    thanks,

    Dave

  3. I would love to have a video of this as well. We were going to try to record it, but our techie had a meeting with students that he had to lead. Maybe I will get a colleague to tape a class session when I do RT again. Of course, I will have to get permission forms signed.

    To answer the other questions. The narrator reads in the Target Language. If students have previously acquired the language, this can be the first time through. Otherwise this replaces Ben’s “sacred reading of the text” after students have read and discussed. The discussion takes on new life as students see the text acted out in front of them. Actors perform as the narrator reads. Of course, you have to have actors who will pause and hold still while the discussion takes place. This is not a quiet activity; expect lots of noise and commotion if it is an exciting scene. On Saturday we had pirates saying “ARRGH!”, councilmen harrumphing and the people cheering and booing – in addition to the three primary actors in the roles of Klaus, Mayor, Executioner.

    The only English that would be used is “just enough” to make sure everything is comprehensible and that you are staying in the target language.

  4. I’m going to try this today with my Spanish III’s and a Mexican folktale called Las aventuras de Juan Bobo.

    I am going to pre act it out so there is some prior knowledge and then do the reading á la readers theater. I broke it up into 7 manageable chunks.

    Let’s see. This is me attempting to be a team player with my Spanish III team.

  5. Make the chunks small. Don’t go for the big scenes, but try to get all you can out of even one sentence. Some of the text makes for exciting RT, some doesn’t. We have to learn to find the energized scenes, park on them, and flip through more boring parts of the passage very quickly if at all. Just thinking out loud here trying to get command over RT. Carol’s visit was a great step forward for that. As per recent posts, make sure the actors’ actions are synched with your words and remember to ask the class if a certain scene was “acceptable” or not and if it wasn’t make the actor(s) do it again. I have a power point on RT from Carol but can’t open the file so am working on that. Carol thank you for being so nice to give us access to the slide shows you use in your workshops!

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