A total of fifty six junior high schools participated in the Readers Theater Competition in Taichung Dadun Cultural Center of the year 2012, featuring wonderful and outstanding performances by dedicated contestants and their coaches. Some high-ranking officials, legislators and principles came and graced this main event, also with the vice mayor addressing to the audience. He encouraged all the students to keep working on their reading and speaking competence and expressed his best wishes that each team could have a wonderful learning experience.
The main idea of Readers Theater, or RT, is to use readers’ voices, mainly pronunciation and intonation, to perform a written story when they become the characters and bring them to life. As an English teacher, RT can be very helpful in motivating students to read and speak because it creates a purpose for reading which later on will leads to fluency. Unlike dramas, contestants are not allowed to use large props, and there is also no need to put on makeup or gaudy costumes. Oral interpretation plays the most crucial part and accounts for most of the judges’ evaluation.
Therefore, based on the judges' feedback and suggestions, teachers are advised to aim their coaching specifically at a character’s emotions rather than just reading out loud his or her lines correctly. Then, try to avoid some common mispronunciations, such as “can” and “can’t”, “beat” and “bit” and so on. Following that, the judges also suggested trying to make the scripts related to students’ real life as much as possible, like bullying, peer pressure, homework, etc, and avoid using fairy tales instead. Finally, good singing can add some color to your performance while lousy singing could just does the opposite.
Many thanks to those unsung heroes who made this competition possible. Also, on behalf of the Advisory Group, I would like to congratulate those who put up such a wonderful performance on their remarkable achievement. Last but not least, let’s not forget the majority of students who didn’t participate in this competition today can also benefit a lot from RT in terms of reading comprehension and fluency other than those chosen elites. It is our job that we put RT into practice back in real classrooms and engage more students in it.