Safe at Last
Developing fluent and expressive reading with Readers Theatre
Lesson length: 1 session
Lesson from Grandma Bird series
Required reading: Whole book
- Language features: Dialogue: emotion
- Readers Theatre
Reading aloud with expression is an important skill, which is not solely about performance. When a child reads aloud, they are developing an ear for phrasing and intonation in dialogue. Being able to hear what the text sounds like helps children with their independent reading. Readers Theatre is an excellent way to develop these skills and, at the same time, engage the children with the text.
The moment when Grandma rescues Noi is the only place where dialogue is employed in this story. It is a critical moment as it marks a new phase in the relationship between the two characters.
- Print copies of the Grandma Bird Readers Theatre
Begin by reading the passage to the children, ensuring that they can follow the text. Instruct them to listen to your expression and phrasing. After reading, ask the question,
- Did you notice anything about the way that I read that?
Now focus on the dialogue in the book.
- How do you think Noi feels when he says, “Grandma!”? There could be a mixture of emotions, such as relief and happiness. Encourage the children to draw on their experience, but also the clues in the text and the illustration. The discussion and exploration of character are crucial to the success of Readers Theatre.
Refer back to the previous page to consider how Noi feels when he is standing on the rock, wondering if he will ever be saved. Read Noi’s line of dialogue. This can be done in unison to support children who feel self-conscious.
Repeat with Grandma’s lines.
Hand out the script. Work in groups of three, one narrator (who reads all the text which is not highlighted, including speech tags), Noi, and Grandma. Allow groups to read through the script and practise.
There is no need for the children to memorise the words, as they should have the script with them at all times.
Groups share their reading with the rest of the class.
Look again at the illustration on this page. Ask:
- Did Readers Theatre help you understand how Noi and Grandma might be feeling?
Grandma Bird Exemplar Think Aloud
A example of a Think Aloud that supports this lesson. Adapt according to the needs of your pupils.
Grandma Bird Readers Theatre
This short Readers Theatre is for use with this session. Use to explore the character’s emotions in this pivotal moment in the story.