Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Speaker's Theater

Speaker’s Theater like Reader’s Theater focuses on helping children develop reading fluency. However, Speaker’s Theater focuses most often on independent public speaking skills. Students are generally encouraged to choose a piece to read aloud to the class and assessed on fluency and presentation skills. Many teachers use this as a time to encourage exposure to poetry that can often be tough to fit into full curriculum schedules. Homeschooling parents can also use this format to encourage children to practice public speaking skills.

Unlike traditional recitation exercises, children are not required to memorize a poem. Many classrooms us a music stand as a podium to allow children to have a book or paper to read from. This allows them freedom from holding a book during the presentation. This often leads to presentations that are more creative and prevents children from hiding behind the book during the presentation.

Children should be encouraged to choose their own pieces and rehearse them prior to presentation. Setting up a schedule that gives children predictable expectations of when they will be reading, decreases anxiety and increases personal responsibility for preparing their performance. Homeschooling parents can determine how often this activity will occur. Most classrooms find that for every child to perform spreading children out over a weekly or biweekly schedule works best. Finding time to truly listen, evaluate, and provide useful feedback to each student requires time. It is better to spread out assignments than not to be able to provide each child with a meaningful activity.

Having poetry books in the classroom helps encourage children to engage in the activity. Homeschooling parents and teachers can get assistance from librarians in finding engaging material for children to read and present. The more the children enjoy the poems, the more they will be willing to practice and perform. In some schools, this tradition begins in Kindergarten and continues through elementary school. So many children have a long tradition with the activity. If it is something new being introduced, take the time to engage children with the process.


Rubrics are often used with this activity to give children feedback on their performance. I was not able to find online versions, but I will add the Reader’s Theater Rubrics I posted in an earlier blog as they are very similar to Speaker’s Theater Rubrics I have used in the past. Read more...

Holt, Rinehart, and Winston


Learning Organizers


Picture Credits kittenpuff1 tinah

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