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Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot - Schools

Bringing A Classic Tale To Life

“Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” This Chinese proverb supports the intention of the Reader’s Theatre program at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School. Planning the reader’s theater is a collaboration between Roosevelt school literacy coach Kathleen Bartell and school librarian Roseann Davidson, who incorporate the work of the classroom and special subject teachers. In doing so, they seek  to bring to life a work of classic fiction while integrating music, art and technology. The timeless tale of the gingerbread cookie that unexpectedly springs to life was therefore an ideal choice for such an endeavor.

“Students learn best when learning is put into context,” said former Roosevelt School Principal Gina Faust.

Laura Tardugno was very pleased to see how her son’s participation in Reader’s Theatre has inspired him. “I’ve noticed him dancing around the house more and have seen him come out of his shell quite a bit.”

Just before the students would break for the holiday, parents and teachers gathered in the cafeteria to watch Mrs. Kolb’s second-graders perform a re-telling of the stories The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst and Gingerbread Baby by Jann Brett, two very different adaptations of the classic tale. The students re-enacted the stories, dressed in baker’s hats and aprons by reading their lines aloud. Each student had a line to read and was expected to follow along in the story while their classmates read their parts.

It is the intention of the Reader’s Theatre program to address the needs of the various learning styles of the students. This is done in part by incorporating reading, art and music as enrichment. A gingerbread house, decorated under the supervision of art teacher Stephanie Miley, provided the backdrop and music teacher, Meagan Finnerty, led the students in a musical performance of “Believe” from The Polar Express.

Faust had this to say of Reader’s Theatre: “It has grown to include writing, social studies, social issues and of course technology to encourage teamwork, build confidence, improve reading fluency and support artistic expression as well as motivate the reluctant reader.”

As Reader’s Theatre continues to evolve, a new component was added this year. The seniors from the Oyster Bay Life Enrichment Center were invited to attend an encore performance at the Roosevelt Elementary library. Following the show, the seniors made a holiday craft with the second-graders and both children and adults enjoyed a holiday sing-along, just the thing to get students, teachers and seniors in the spirit of the holidays.