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Try Reader’s Theater to Replace the Traditional Bedtime Story

4 Sep 2014 – 03:30 PM EDT

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We read to our little ones each night before bed, after a long day, to remind them how important reading and spending time together is for the family. It’s as much a bonding experience as it is a nightly routine but every once in a while it can be nice to shake things up. Try reader’s theatre to replace the traditional bedtime story for a change. You’re simply going to read the story with your child, both of you taking on the voices of different characters in the books. Follow these steps to get it right. Your children will thank you.

Choose a Book With Characters

Books with a narrator can be great but reader’s theatre really requires characters to be successful. If you’re reading “The Three Little Pigs”, for example, you can voice the Big Bad Wolf while your little ones take turns voicing the three little pigs. There are even scripts available to online to print and read together. I know what you’re thinking. How will this settle my children down for the night? This seems like active fun, doesn’t it? Well, it can be, but the beauty of reader’s theatre is you only need your voice. There is no blocking, props or makeup required. Oral expression is key. Lie in bed and relax as you teach your children how to bring the characters to life with the intonation and tone in their voice.

Choose a Good Fit Book

You’ll need to have a good idea of your child’s reading level before you choose a book. Children will sometimes choose books well out of their range because the topic interests them. For a successful reading you’ll need to help your child choose a book that is right for them. The book should have vocabulary words they are comfortable with. It might even be a good idea to have them do a quick read through before you begin. Teachers often use reader’s theatre in the classroom for a great excuse to hear a child read aloud. If your child is confident in his reading ability he will be much more apt to give life to the characters in your book and impress the teacher to boot.

Switch it Up

Are you always playing the bad guy? Take turns with different characters in the book. Let your little ones know what it is like to voice many types of characters and watch their reading skills soar. Kids love to be dramatic, and let’s face it, it’s great fun for parents, too. When you and your children become the characters in the book the story can become a whole new form of entertainment and the learning involved is the icing on the cake. Once children can identify with the characters they are playing, their comprehension skills will climb, as well.

Rather than be a passive participant during your nightly reading routine, allow your children to get involved. Don’t forget to praise your little performer as the go for it with their character voices. It might just surprise you how quickly they jump into bed next bedtime.