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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Literacy Resources
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Curriculum Details for
Benchmark Reader's Theater Scripts and Fluency Skills Set

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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
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Content Expert Reviewer

Katharine Adams
Katharine Adams is currently a doctoral student in Applied Child Development at Tufts University. She has taught at the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts for over a decade. She has worked on the development and design of literacy curricula including RAVE-O and the Benchmark Word Detectives Program. She has also developed and implemented an afterschool and summer program for at-risk readers. In addition, Katharine has taught in elementary schools and holds a Masters in teaching with an emphasis in special needs.

Content

  • Reader’s Theater Scripts cover oral reading fluency and reading comprehension.
  • Fluency Skills Set offers more in depth coverage of these topics.
  • Scripts seem to be effective at engaging students with the stories.

Skills

Academic Skills
  • Oral reading fluency
  • Reading comprehension
Study Skills
  • How to work independently
Non-Academic Skills
  • Team work, cooperation, and communication skills
  • Peer teaching and learning

Alignment to Standards

While Fluency Skills Set does not have specific standards, the curriculum does reflect current trends in scientifically based fluency instruction.

Assessment

  • Fluency Skills Set includes both self-check and informal teacher assessments. 
  • Formal assessments, similar to a regular reading test, help determine if a student is on track, but does not articulate specific problem areas.

Structure

  • Fairly structured, the content is entirely defined.
  • Easy to implement.
  • Largely teacher-directed.
  • In addition to a regular Teachers Guide, there is also a Teachers Guide designed specifically for using Reader’s Theater with English Language Learners.  This guide explicitly breaks down skills involved.

Addressing Diverse Student Needs

Adaptability
  • Teachers can be creative with how students use the scripts.  Depending on the needs and interests of students, teachers could come up with many different ways to perform the plays.
  • The curriculum includes ideas for creative extension activities.
  • Multileveled scripts allow students who are at different reading levels to participate.
Developmental level
  • The curriculum is available for a range of reading levels, and is fairly appropriate to the given ages.  Students need to already have some ability to read. 
Learning Styles Addressed
  • Movement/spatial learning: Students get up and move around while reading lines.
  • Interpersonal learning: Both scripts and fluency sets require students to work together, read to each other, and perform together.
  • Artistic learning: Acting and performing a play.
Multiculturalism
  • Teacher’s guide for English Language Learners (ELL).
  • Scripts incorporate diverse stories and characters, such as with the Myths and Legends Set.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • Easy to implement, feasible for an afterschool program to be able to store and keep track of materials.
  • Engaging for students.
  • Provides both opportunities for students to read to each other and to get feedback from an adult.
  • Theater format effective in afterschool setting.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • Oral reading is the only type of reading and fluency practice offered with this curriculum.


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