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A 2nd Grade Reader's Theater with Heart

Roosevelt Elementary School 2nd graders in Ms. Christine Rooney’s class put their hearts into a Reader’s Theater presentation featuring the books, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli and Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, by Diane de Groat.

Dressed in simple costumes of pink, red or white T-shirts with a big heart in the center and hats with a picture of the characters they portrayed, students took turns at the microphones reading their assigned parts to an audience of family and friends.  In the first story, a package with a note that says, “Somebody loves you” is delivered to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch. He happily goes about his days wondering who the secret admirer could be, suddenly taking interest in interacting with his neighbors and co-workers. When he learns that the package was sent to him by mistake, his friends and neighbors rally behind him to demonstrate how much he really is loved.

In the second book, the main character, Gilbert, sets out to write Valentine’s Day cards to his classmates but struggles with sending a nice message to the boy who tweaks his nose and the girl who makes fun of his glasses. He decides to send two Valentine’s Day cards with a message that isn’t very nice and signs a different name to both. When his classmates receive the cards and read the message, their feeling are hurt, stirring commotion in the class. Gilbert turns around his prank with the help of a friend and an honest apology, showing that there is always time for a “change of heart” on Valentine’s Day.

The students closed their performance by singing You Got a Friend in Me, complete with gestures that complimented the lyrics.

Readers’ Theaters are hallmarked by expressive and animated reading and minimalist costumes. According to Principal Ms. Tami McElwee, “Readers’ Theater is not to memorize lines or wear elaborate costumes, but rather to focus on reading the text with expressive voices and gestures.”

Literacy Coach Ms. Chris Bartell and Library Media Specialist Ms. Roseann Davidson coordinate the performances in collaboration with art teacher Ms. Meredith Brustman, who designs a mural featuring the book selections, and music teacher Ms. Brenda Murphy, who leads the students in a closing song.  Refreshments are provided by the PTA for students to enjoy after their performance.