Reader Theater: The Danger of Illiteracy
Edited by Lisa Buggs
“Reading aloud with children is known to be the
single most important activity for building the
knowledge and skills they will eventually require
for learning to read.” Marilyn Jager Adams
What is in a book is only determined by the process of reading after
it is written and published. The expectations of the reader are there,
the cognitive questions are present, the individuals’ inquisitive nature
to look past the verbiage of the author and the black and white lettering
to establish a connection with letters that formulate words, words that
build sentences and sentences that construct paragraphs.
The body of the book develops and grows waiting patiently for the
opportunity to have its pages turned, its pages seduced by fingers that
are excited to touch and caress the tapestry of learning.
The act of reading is the responsibility of all parents regardless of their
level to make sure their children are better readers than they are.
“Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel,
anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your
history and you read it in your own terms.” Angela Carter
The ability to read is an individual accomplishment based on the
foundations of youth. One of the primary missions of parenthood is
to teach children to read. If parents fail in this endeavor they are
committing their children to a life of unnecessary struggle and heartache,
lacking a skill that is as necessary as breathing, the very act to live and
survive. My grandmother in my youth used to remind me that, “In this
world you can’t function without knowing how to read.” All I could say
was “Yes Nana your right.” Even though she had an 8th grade education
she understood the value and importance of reading. Even in the Bible
scripture states the value of reading.
Nehemiah 8:8 “They read from the book, from the law of God, translating
to give the sense so that they understood the reading.” Understanding
is key to learning God and man’s laws. It translates to comprehension,
gow can our society function and progress without respecting the gaining
or acquiring of knowledge?
Reading opens the mind to creativity, expanding the mind outside of the
limitations of the environment, opening the doors of unlimited possibilities
and building the desire to want to learn more. The writer William James
states, “To take flight into whole new worlds,” shows that there are no
limits to achievement. The mind takes flight so the future is open with
reading fluency. “So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well:
They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young
birds take to the sky.” William James
Reader Theater is a tool to connect reading, literacy and comprehension,
based on vocalization, pronunciation and articulation bring books to life.
Reading develops a spirit; it creates the opportunity to connect and
establish a relationship beyond just letters and words, allowing for a
spiritual bonding of magnificent collaboration. Children, youth and teens
of school age need to hear the words sometimes to allow them to see
the world of reading.
M.R. Kuhn & S.A. Stahl, “Fluency: A Review of Development and
Remedial Practices” (2003) has stated that, “Listening to good models of
fluent reading, students can learn how a reader’s voice can help text make
sense.” Reader Theater integrates dynamic readers that collaborate in
articulately telling/reading the stories that make our minds and in some
cases spirits soar……
Reader Theater ministers to adapting reading from a one dimensional cognitive
skill to a multidimensional skill that requires the diversity of auditory, visual and
even extending the senses that reach out to grasp the unseen enigma of a story.
Reader Theater presents that reading and literacy when applied can move the
spirit as well as the mind. “The mission is staged to address literacy empowerment
in urban communities and schools. It also bridges various communities through
the personal writings of notable icons in our country’s history.”
“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something
worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations–something that will
help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward
people whose lives are quite different from their own.” Katherine Patterson
Reader Theater is presented by Young Minds Building Success Charities.
Board Member of Young Minds Building Success Charities
Instructor with Edward Waters College