Recently our school held a Family Literacy Night- an evening where parents could attend classes on improving their child’s reading and writing. As a second grade teacher, I couldn’t help but get involved! I jumped on board along with many other qualified teachers and parents in the community.
Our focus was literacy- I chose to present on FLUENCY- what it is, why it is so important, and how we can improve it. I wanted the parents to have that foundation that fluency is not just reading quickly- that fluency encompasses reading accurately, reading at a proper speed, and reading with correct intonation or expression. Word automaticity leads to greater comprehension- the more time and mental processes you spend decoding, the less you have for comprehending. Readers Theater is a fun way to practice fluency. Students are building word automaticity and proper intonation through reading, practicing, and performing scripts.
For our literacy night, I really wanted something the whole family could do together. That is where the idea for implementing puppets with the Readers Theater scripts started. I had a vivid mental image of a family reading the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. After hearing the story, they each made a puppet that went with the story. Then I could just visualize a family reading and rereading the script and performing it with their puppets. What a FUN way to build fluency, provide proper modeling of the sounds and expression,and most importantly spend time as a family.
I eagerly sought out materials for different fairy tales and other Readers Theaters. I ended up with a total of 6 puppet packs for the parents to put together- Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, Tortoise and the Hare, 3 Little Pigs, 3 Billy Goats Gruff, and a favorite Readers Theater of mine titled Hippo’s Toothache. I collected and copied scripts and puppets (some finger puppets, the rest paper bag puppets; in which I provided paper bags for the parents).
During Literacy Night I provided the parents with large envelopes to store each of their puppet theaters. The puppet theaters could be reused- once their family night is over and they have had fun performing their scripts with their puppets- just stick all the materials back into the envelope for another day!