A Fun Hack for Reading Fluency and Public Speaking

Reading fluency.

Anyone else just cringe?

Getting my kids to work on their reading fluency has always been a task. Especially when it came to kid#3 (Logi Bear).

Most reading fluency activities or reading fluency pages are just not fun. They’re bland and boring.

And I’m not all about bland and boring. I know reading fluency is important. But it’s not important if it means my kids hate reading.

So the moment I noticed my kids resisting their reading fluency work, we stopped.

I’d rather have kids who love reading than kids who hate reading (but are better at reading).

Of course, I never just give up on something. We may quit one method but I immediately start looking for a better way. I’m all about ensuring kids stick with their commitments and try things that are hard. But doing something hard and doing something you hate are totally different.

A few years ago we stumbled upon an acting opportunity at a local magical spot.

It wasn’t too long after this that the boys decided to try out for a play there. It was Logi-Bear’s first time trying out and they have to read from the script in front of everyone.

At 6, he wasn’t the strongest reader. And the script wasn’t written for beginning readers. So we practiced.

A lot.

And I found that my kids loved acting out the script. We didn’t just read it through once or twice. We didn’t just read the lines Logi-Bear needed.

We acted out the entire script multiple times a day.

And after the audition, they asked for more. They wanted to keep reading scripts.

And that’s when I first heard about Readers Theatre.

What is Readers Theatre?

Readers Theatre is meant to be scripts to read aloud with multiple people that are at the intended reading level.

For our homeschool, I try to get scripts that are about the 3rd to 4th grade level. This accommodates our youngest reader well.

While the text may not be challenging for my older (Baloo at 14 years old) he is still gaining valuable skills.

What are the benefits of Readers Theatre?

In my opinion, there are countless benefits to using a Readers Theatre style lesson in your homeschool.

  1. Improves fluency. Fluency is all about reading without pausing for new/big words or having to sound out words. It’s about reading fluently. Fluency takes practice, practice, and more practice.
  2. Improves public speaking skills. I remember taking my first speech class and how intimidated I felt. I was never a theatre geek (too scared) or someone who randomly spoke in front of crowds. Readers Theatre is a great way to introduce some basic public speaking skills like projecting, speaking clearly, and being in front of other people. Even if it’s just in your own home!
  3. Allows for creative expression. Each person is going to express their creativity in their own way and the same is true for theatre. Two different people will express the same character in two different ways. In Readers Theatre, each child is allowed the creative expression of their character however they see fit!
  4. It’s fun. This is less objective, so I’ll apologize. Not everyone loves acting out scripts. But many kids do! Acting in front of an audience may be a bit too intimidating but reading a script is great fun! And it’s a really great way to work on reading skills.

Tip – Use photo props to make your script reading even more fun!

Where do you find Readers Theatre scripts?

There are many places to get scripts both purchased and free online.

These are a few books I recommend.

But I also really love using free scripts. My kids are a bit picky when it comes to some things and I guess plays are one of those things.

So I love being able to look through many plays and find one that works for them.

Here are a few options for free Readers Theater scripts:
P.S. Do not assume that all of these are secular. Read over scripts before handing them to your kids.

What if I only have one child?

Unfortunately, a lot of these plays are meant for classrooms and include a cast of many people. We struggle finding scripts for just the 4 of us.

However, I think there is still ample opportunity for an only child to do Readers Theater.

One way to do this could be using a script with a light cast and taking multiple roles each. This is especially fun if you can come up with simple costumes or do silly voices.

Another way could be using puppets or stuffed animals or dolls and talking for them.

You also might just look for scripts with just 2 people. They’re not as common, but they do exist.

What are the benefits of reading fluency?

Reading fluency is one of the biggest road blacks from being able to read to being a reader.

Being able to read involves both the sounding out of words and the understanding of the words you’ve said.

Most, if not all, kids start reading with the sounding out part. But in those beginning stages, it’s hard to do the sounding out and the understanding.

This is why we practice reading fluency.

Kids need practice to be able to read words quickly and develop a pace and pattern to their reading. If it takes 5 seconds to read each word, you’re not going to remember the sentence you’ve just read.

But if you can read the words fast enough to understand the full sentence, you’re reading!

Many reading programs build in fluency activities or lessons. We use All About Reading and there is a fluency sheet in every chapter.

I just felt that Logi-Bear needed more fluency work. And I knew it needed to be fun.

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