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Reviewed by:
  • From Children’s Literature to Readers Theatre by Elizabeth A. Poe
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer
Poe, Elizabeth A. From Children’s Literature to Readers Theatre. ALA, 2013. 190p Paper ed. ISBN 978-0-8389-1049-8 $40.00

Most librarians will be familiar with Readers Theatre as Poe defines it—as a staged reading of a text that uses limited action and minimal props—but it’s her collaborative reader-centered approach, involving young readers in every aspect of the production, that is likely to breathe life back into this library standby. Chapters one through five focus on the value of a reader-centered approach, providing anecdotes from the author’s experiences with both young children and teens as participants, and offering use possibilities (using Readers Theatre to introduce an author during an author visit, for one, or allowing students studying World War II to select pieces to perform in class) and tips for setting the stage and prepping the group. The second part of the book is more nuts and bolts, providing a thorough how-to guide for adapting a script from literature, complete with a plethora of examples, and offering a timeline for meetings and the divvying up of tasks. A final section lists over a hundred books suited for Readers Theatre adaptation, grouped by age appropriateness. Practical and to the point, this would obviously make a valuable resource for any practitioner looking to start a Readers Theatre project, while the kid-centered approach is likely be refreshing for librarians who too often find themselves writer, director, prop hand, and one-person clean-up crew. [End Page 247]



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