Kindergarten Reader’s Theater
The kindergarten classes at my school were doing an Author Study on the author and illustrator David Shannon. One of the kindergarten teachers approached me, saying she’d like to do something interesting and a little different with her students. So we came up with a Reader’s Theater based on two of Shannon’s books: No, David! and Duck on a Bike.
The first time the class came to the library, I showed a short PowerPoint that included pictures of David Shannon, a hyperlink to an interview with him, a few facts about him, and an explanation of what author is and what an illustrator is. Then we read Shannon’s Alice the Fairy. The students then had to finish the sentence “If I had a magic wand, I would like to…..” and illustrate what they wrote. Next, we made our own “magic wands,” which consisted of us helping the students roll a long stick pretzel in frosting, and sprinkling it with “fairy dust,” i.e. candy sprinkles. Before they left the library, we told the students they would be putting on two plays based on books by David Shannon. The students were excited!
Using creative foam and other supplies, I made masks of all the animals from Duck on a Bike and wrote a simple skit.
For No, David!, we decided to set up the scenes in the book as stations. One student would act out David’s parts at each station, and the other students each had one simple line to memorize.
We practiced several times in the library. We set a date for our production, and sent invitations to the parents and school community.
Our “opening day” was a hit! Several parents and people from the school community attended the production. First we showcased all the David Shannon books the students had read, and the students explained what an author is and what an illustrator is. Then we presented our reader’s theater– the students played their parts perfectly! Next, we had a craft activity found on the Enchanted Learning website—making a duck with a paper plate and construction paper. Finally, we had juice and sugar cookies cut out in the shapes of ducks. (Sur La Table at Perimeter Mall has duck-shaped cookie cutters.)
I printed out the pictures of parents making the craft with their child, and tucked a copy of the picture into handwritten thank you notes, letting the parents know how much we appreciated their support.
A lot of elbow grease went into this production, but it’s worth it! Kindergarteners were excited about books and reading, they learned the difference between an author and an illustrator, and the school established a relationship with the parents. Learning is fun, and the library is an exciting place.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Anja Tigges, Ed.S.
Scott Elementary, Atlanta Public Schools