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TR Readers' Theater a Lesson in Perseverance


Roosevelt Elementary School 2nd graders in Mr. Brian Agostini and Ms. Jessica Paladino’s class showcased themes of determination and perseverance when they presented a Readers’ Theater on the books, A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards and Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins.


Dressed in simple costumes of “snowmen” T-shirts and snowflake crowns made out of light blue and white construction paper, students took turns at the microphone reading their assigned parts to an audience of family and friends.  In the first story, a young girl named Sophia is determined to make Mrs. Goldman “the most special hat in the world” after noticing that she knits hats for everyone in the neighborhood and never thinks of herself. But Sophia’s knitting skills leave much to be desired. Remembering that Mrs. Goldman praised her pom-poms, Sophia adds red pom-poms to any areas that are bare, and when she gives her the hat, Mrs. Goldman is delighted. The story is a testament to grit and selflessness and enabled the class to add Yiddish words from Jewish culture to their vocabularies, such as keppie (head) and mitzvah (good deed) and mench (someone to admire and emulate), which fits both Sophia and Mrs. Goldman like a glove or, perhaps, a hat!


In the second book, Pauline and her little brother, John-John, are convinced that a stand selling lemonade and limeade will go over big, even in the middle of winter. Through sheer determination and spunk, the siblings collect enough money to buy all the supplies to launch their business and try different sales tactics, from a catchy jingle to dressing up their stand with balloons to draw attention. The pair have enough money in the end to buy…popsicles. Woven throughout the story are math principals and business vocabulary, such as “advertise” and “sale.”


This performance was the second of five second-grade classes that will present a Readers’ Theater throughout the year. Readers’ Theaters are hallmarked by expressive and animated reading and minimalist costumes. As Principal Ms. Tami McElwee described in her opening remarks, “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 song to close their performance. For this performance, students sang, Peace be with You with gestures that complimented the lyrics.


After the program, student enjoyed refreshments provided by the PTA. And to drink? Why lemonade, of course!