Ms. Patti's Readers' Theater Showcases the Power of Words
In the first of five performances by second graders throughout the year, Roosevelt Elementary School students in Ms. Jen Patti’s class opened the curtain for family and friends as they presented a Readers’ Theater on E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, Nov. 3.
Standing in simple costumes with scripts in hand, students took turns reading the beloved children’s classic about a spider named Charlotte who cleverly spins into her web words that ultimately save the life of a pig named Wilbur, her barnyard friend.
“The goal of the Readers’ Theater is not to memorize lines or wear elaborate costumes, but rather to focus on reading the text with expressive voices and gestures,” said Roosevelt Elementary School Principal Ms. Tami McElwee. “It’s another way of interpreting the story.”
Each of the five second-grade classes performs a Readers’ Theater during the year. The performances are coordinated by Literacy Coach Ms. Chris Bartell and Library Media Specialist Ms. Rosann Davidson, in collaboration with art teacher Ms. Meredith Brustman, who designs a mural as a backdrop, and music teacher Ms. Brenda Murphy, who leads the students in a song. This Readers’ Theater featured a mural of the novel’s cover and the song, “Ordinary Miracles” from the movie version of Charlotte’s Web.
According to Ms. Bartell and Ms. Davidson, Charlotte’s Web showcased the theme of kindness and the different ways Charlotte shows kindness towards Wilbur. In describing the words Charlotte spun into her web to save Wilbur, Ms. Bartell shared with the audience, “Words have power and make you stand taller, so we asked our students to come up with a word that they thought Charlotte would have used to describe each one of them.”
Each word was put on a T-shirt that the students wore for their performance, in addition to the hats they wore to portray each character in the book. Students stood proudly as the audience scanned the words on their shirts, which ranged from “awesome,” “caring,” “clever,” “extraordinary,” “thoughtful,” and “spectacular.”
After words of praise from their teachers and thunderous applause from the audience, the performance wrapped up with refreshments provided by the PTA.
Roosevelt Elementary School second graders in Ms. Jen Patti’s class perform a Reader’s Theater adaptation of Charlotte’s Web above and below.
Ms. Patti’s students wear T-shirts with words they thought the main character, Charlotte, would spin in her web to describe them.
Roosevelt second graders sing, “Ordinary Miracles,” under the direction of music teacher Ms. Brenda Murphy.