Call them what you will, Reader's Theater, Partner Plays, or simply, what it is, reading for fluency and comprehension. No matter the name or the purpose, young children love to read, practice, rehearse and perform! Students love these books and their headband costumes!
For my students, third trimester has just begun. The time when benchmark and near-benchmark students begin to soar, and the time when students that are struggling with academic skills lag further and further behind.
Why? Because of the great discrepancy in their foundational oral language skill acquisition and development. For example, how can a student match an alphabet letter to an object if they do not know what the names of all the objects are? How can a student write a CVC word when the picture is of something unknown to them? How can a student use pictures clues to decode a guided reader when the vocabulary is unknown to name the picture?
What Can We Do To Lessen The Gap?
So what can we do for these students? In the early years of learning, a strong foundation in oral vocabulary is imperative to a students’ future academic success. Consequently, the development of oral language skills should be strategically taught!
Following are a few oral language activities that you can try with your struggling students.
- Do oral language bags (simply collect a bag of objects, name them, and discuss them).
- Sing nursery rhymes and other songs over and over again.
- Actively read rhyming books where the reader and listener engage with the rhyme.
- Do repetitive chants and poems.
- Use puppets or props to retell simple stories.
- Talk with children. “Tell me when...” “What do you do...” “How do you...” “What do you like...” etc.
- Make up stories with beginning, middle, end cards.
- Play opposite games.
- Ask questions and allow students to respond. Some children need wait time to gather their response.
- Give students opportunities to expand on their responses. For example, if the response is apple, “What color is the apple?” “Have you eaten an apple?” “What did it taste like?”
- Read, read, read! And then talk about what you read!
This oral language packet hopefully can be a starting point to developed oral language for your child or students.
Using Reader's Theater in kindergarten is not only great fun, but it is the perfect way to build reading confidence, fluency, and developed comprehension skills. This week students were working hard in their reading groups to read, practice, refine, and then perform!
These scripts are perfect for benchmark kindergarten readers! The scripts are engaging as they are based on familiar folktales.
You can purchase each of these theaters separately, or as a bundle! You kids will love them!
The ability to listen, ask questions and communicate, together with a rich and varied vocabulary, will allow students to have an easier time comprehending text as it is read.In fact, some studies claim that developed oral language skills alone is the best indicator of future school success.
Singing is a very effective way to build these important language skills. Not only are songs filled with complex words and thoughts, children naturally love music! What better way to practice language than within the safety of spontaneous chants, rhymes, and songs.
Today we presented our program, The Land of Rhymes. The kids loved singing those dear Mother Goose Songs that have been passed down for generations, and that we have been signing since the first day of school. Students especially loved bringing those characters to life as they introduced their characters in the microphone and then danced and sang the songs.
If you also love Mother Goose, and perhaps looking for ways to better develop oral language skills, you might wish to try: