Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Readers Theatre Project

I've missed a few Monday posts. I hurt my shoulder and have been babying it. In the meantime I've worked on three more readers theatre scripts for my book on explorers. My wonderful critique group has helped me find the balance between information overload and story.

The research required for one of these things is prodigious. I end up with facts in my head, notebook, computer, on paper scraps and napkins, the back of envelopes, sticky notes, etc. Then do I organize all those notes? Not really. Usually I am much more organized, but because there are so many of these little scripts to write, I have approached this project a little differently. I accumulate all these facts and then let my brain sort for story, conflict, and humor.

My first draft is almost always too fact heavy, so I look again for the heart of the script. What is the teaching point? How can these characters I've pulled together interact, react to each other, with enough conflict and humor to make a middle grade reader willing to recreate this tiny piece of history? There's the challenge that keeps a writer plugging away on a project.

If you haven't used readers theatre in your classroom or library before, check out the variety of topics and grade levels published by Libraries Unlimited. There's something here for everyone. And next year, mine will be on the list.


  1. Oh lordy, do I need your help. Am working on some RT based on scenes from my book. Help!

  2. That's great, Irene. What good way to promote your book!

    Here's what I've found. Decide what you want to get across. Let your narrator state it up front. Let your characters react to each other, play off each other, argue with each other, accuse, tease, and heckle. Don't demand that they be totally true to history. Find the drama in the moment. Let your narrator provide the voice of reason, the truth hidden in the conflict.