CHICAGO — How do you get children excited and engaged with books? Get them onstage! Readers Theatre is a staged reading of literature with participants reading from scripts, conveying the book’s story using voice and facial expressions. Elizabeth A. Poe introduces and shows how to implement the concept in “From Children’s Literature to Readers Theatre,” published by ALA Editions. She demonstrates how Readers Theatre offers educators an innovative opportunity to acquaint children and young people with quality literature, develop their public-speaking skills and teach teamwork in an activity that is as entertaining as it is educational. A veteran of many Readers Theatre programs, she explains how to create successful programs, providing:
- Detailed instruction for ways librarians can help children and teens develop and perform their own Readers Theatre scripts;
- An annotated bibliography of 100 books suggested for their Readers Theatre potential, with excerpts from scripts and the passages from which they were adapted;
- Programming ideas that can be adapted for use across different age levels, from preschool to YA;
- Comments from prominent children’s authors who have shared Readers Theatre experiences with Poe.
Poe is a retired professor of children’s and young adult literature who holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has also taught at the preschool, middle school and high school levels. For the past 10 years, she has organized Readers Theatre performances with authors at professional conferences across the U.S. and around the world. She is a member of the 2014 Newbery Committee and has served on the Caldecott Committee and chaired the USBBY Outstanding International Books Committee, the Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award and the IRA Young Adult Choices project. She served as president of ALAN, editor of the Journal of Children’s Literature and The SIGNAL Journal and book review column editor for The ALAN Review. A frequent speaker at professional conferences, she has published numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as the books “Focus on Sexuality: A Reference Handbook,” “Focus on Relationships: A Reference Handbook,” and “Presenting Barbara Wersba.”
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