Readers' Theatre Term Paper

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Over the last several years, there has been a continuing emphasis on finding ways to improve the total amounts of learning comprehension in reading. Part of the reason for this, is because the achievement scores in these areas have been consistently declining. A good example of this can be seen with a study that was conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts. They found that the total number of Americans who are reading on daily basis has declined by 14% in over 20 years. ("National Endowment for the Arts," 2007) The reason why, is because the advancements in technology and availability of different products (i.e. video games and other forms of entertainment) have created a change the kinds of activities they are involved in. Over the course of time, this has caused most children to read less.

To address these issues and help to improve these numbers, a new program was introduced to help motivate students to read more called Reader's Theater. This is when students will read out loud different scripts (from grade level books) with the intention of helping to: improve their reading skills and self-confidence. If this approach is utilized throughout the school year, it will help to increase the student's reading comprehension levels, while helping to instill a passion for actively reading and learning new ideas. Once this occurs, is when the educational environment is transformed by teaching students how these skills can be used on a regular basis. Evidence of this can be seen with comments from a former educator (named Susan Finney) who said, "I love the active involvement in this approach. It's hard for a child to be a passive observer when you have a script in your hands. The first Reader's Theater scripts I saw were shared with me by a veteran first-grade teacher. She would send small groups of her beginning readers around the school to perform in different classrooms. It was a brilliant idea. The children never knew that they were being tricked into re-reading." (Bafllie, 2007) This is significant, because it is showing how this program can help to encourage students to become active readers on regular basis. To fully understand how this can improve the total amounts of learning comprehension requires look at different scholarly forms of literature on this subject through: reviewing select pieces of information. Once this occurs, is when we will offer specific insights about how this program is effectively addressing these issues.

Research Questions

To focus the research we will be carefully examining two key research questions. These include:

How can I effectively utilize Reader's Theatre to improve the fluency skills of my students?

What changes in the student's level of interest in reading and behaviors are noted following the use of this technique?

These questions are important, because they will help to: specifically focus our research and provide more precise insights about how it can help a variety of different students. This is the point that we can begin using these tools on a regular basis to improve the overall amounts of reading comprehension inside the classroom.

Literature Review

In the article that was written by Moore (2011), she discusses how Reader's Theater is helping to increase the total amounts of learning comprehension. This is because each student must use these skills on a daily basis, to read their assigned part from the script in class. Over the course of time, this gives the students confidence by having them stand up in front of everyone. While at the same time, it is helping them to focus on how to read most effectively. Once this occurs, is the point that students will begin to see a dramatic improvement in their overall amounts of learning comprehension. This is significant, because it is showing how this program can be utilized as a tool by educators. To help improve their pupils' ability to understand the ideas that is being presented to them in an entertaining format. (Moore, 2011, pp. 1 -- 59)

To corroborate and expand upon these findings, the literature that was written by Pestka (2009), talks about how Reader's Theater is often utilized as a way to help improve the amounts learning comprehension in nursing students. The reason why this approach was chosen is because; professors found that it can help to improve the student's understanding of the key concepts. While at the same time, it is allowing students to practice using key concepts and words on a regular basis. The results were that this tool helped to dramatically increase everyones understanding of the material and recall of key concepts in the future. Once this occurred, it helped to make things easier for the student by giving them a basic background to build off of. The information from this source is useful, because it can provide us with specific ideas that can help to improve the student's level of interest and understanding of the material that is being presented. (Pestka, 2009, pp. 105 -- 106).

In the piece of literature that was written by Evan Moor Publishers (2009), they found that the use of Reader's Theater in second grade students helps all English language learners. The reason why, is because there are various pictures and words that are used to help improve the student's ability to understand key concepts that are being presented. For students who are having trouble with English, this is forcing them to: learn new words, phrases and ideas based upon what they are seeing along with reading out loud. While at the same time, verbally saying the words over and over again will help to increase the student's fluency in English. (Evan Moor Publishers, 2006, pg. 6)

When they leave the classroom, is when these ideas can be used to help the students to more effectively communicate with their peers about a wide variety of idea. Once this takes place, is when their underlying levels of socialization will increase dramatically. At which point, the individual will be able to make the adjustment to the new environment and culture easier. The information from this source is useful, because it highlighting how this tool can help to improve the overall amounts of learning comprehension in English language learners. (Evan Moor Publishers, 2006, pg. 6)

Moreover, the piece of literature that was written by Gayla (2008), discusses how Reader's Theater can have a dramatic impact on the student's overall understanding of the material. This is because educators are taking a number of different concepts and combining them into a workable solution that students can use on a regular basis. As it is involving a number of tools that they will need to be successful in the real world to include: effective verbal communication, the ability to elaborate on ideas and it helps to improve how effectively they are speaking to large groups. These different elements are important, because they are providing students with the tools they will need in the future. This is because the combination of them is required to help each person to effectively interact with the world around them on a regular basis. The more effectively they are able to utilize them, is the point that they can be able to relate with everyone. Once this takes place, is when the individual will have greater amounts of self-confidence and they will have a passion for learning about new ideas / concepts. The information from this source is useful, because it is showing how this tool can be used to help all students to more effectively adapt to the world around them (creating a change in their behavior). (Gayla, 2005)

In the article that was written by Corcoran (2005), it discusses the impact Reader's Theater will have on students who are suffering from a learning disability. This was determined by monitoring the effects of this program on 12 different individuals, who were having some kind of issues surrounding their overall amount of learning comprehension in English. In some case, these students could suffer from some kind of learning disability that may be holding them back such as: dyslexia. While at other times, this could be directly attributed to their inability to master the key concepts of the language. In all cases, these issues could hinder a student's ability to understand key concepts and ideas that are being presented. To address these issues, the author determined that Reader's Theater can consistently improve the total amounts of learning comprehension in these different groups. The reason why, is because everyone is having repeated exposure to the various concepts by looking at: the ideas, reading them out loud and hearing themselves say the actual words. Once this takes place, is when there is a transformation in the understanding of these basic concepts. This is the point that there will be significant improvements in their ability to comprehend and retain key ideas on a regular basis. The information from this source is useful, because it is providing a useful solution that educators can…[continue]

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