publication date: Oct 20, 2010
author/source: Carol Montgomery
Review: Fifty Fabulous Fables--
Beginning Readers Theater
Fifty Fabulous Fables--Beginning Readers Theater (©1997) by Suzanne I. Barchers, Ph.D. presents, you guessed it--fifty of Aesop's Fables done Readers Theater style for early readers. What does that mean? That means the author of this wonderful library book has focused on beginner readers by evaluating each script with the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale and then grouped the scripts accordingly into sections. Section one is for students with a first-grade readability level, section two for second-grade readability level, section three for third-grade readability level, and section four for a fourth-grade readability level. Of course, that does not guarantee that students at each level could fluently read every word. It only means the teacher has a clue on how difficult the scripts may be according to a readability scale.
Teacher-friendly for Early Elementary Grades
Even without the readability sections, Dr. Barchers has done a thorough job introducing the basics of Readers Theater and making it easy to use her scripts in a classroom. An experienced educator, administrator, publisher, and affiliate college professor, she knows the value of suggestions for the teacher. Her introduction includes information on preparation, presentation, props, and delivery. And, each script has more specific suggestions (i.e., presentation, props, delivery) to encourage success.
Short, Easy Scripts
All of the scripts in this paperback volume are one or two pages in length. That works well for new readers, but sometimes the stories seem a little dry. Of course, Aesop's Fables are not known for being humorous, only witty. And Dr. Barchers makes sure the moral of the story is clear at the end of every script. The scripts are in a larger print, so copying for educational purposes would be simple. The author also uses numbered lines--as used in some plays--for the teacher/director to easily refer to a particular location. Maybe it's personal preference, but I prefer fewer distractions on a young reader's page. The small pen and ink illustrations or silhouettes are delightful with each easy script.
A Fables Unit
The appendix to Fifty Fabulous Fables--Beginning Readers Theater offers a potpourri of creative ideas for doing a unit study on fables. Starting with a brief history of fables, Dr. Barchers goes on to explain what fables are and offers current titles (e.g., Fables by Lobel). She suggests many activities from art to writing, plus mentions typical theme topics in fables (e.g., flattery, fear, rescue). Finally, she lists references and a bibliography.
Before I would purchase this book I would try to check it out at the library. The scripts are so short it wouldn't take long for enthusiastic readers to finish quickly. Also, since Aesop's Fables are so popular I would consider different versions of the same fable; some scripts are more fun to read and hear than others. This book is perfect for someone in a hurry to have a one or two-page script with a moral at the end. It's also perfect for someone who is insecure about choosing Readers Theater scripts and wants a lot of scripts categorized by the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale. I'll probably just borrow it from the library and continue to write longer scripts sprinkled with humor.