Stories On Stage

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"Stories on Stage" is a collection of reader's theater scripts for young readers, adapted from stories by fifteen different authors, including Louis Sachar, Nancy Farmer, and Roald Dahl. Coming from such genres as humor, fantasy, and multicultural folktales, stories were selected for their dramatic quality, literary value, and appeal to young people. The scripts may be freely copied for noncommercial purposes. With a focus on ages 8 to 15, the collection features a wide range of reading levels.


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"Stories on Stage" is a collection of reader's theater scripts for young readers, adapted from stories by fifteen different authors, including Louis Sachar, Nancy Farmer, and Roald Dahl. Coming from such genres as humor, fantasy, and multicultural folktales, stories were selected for their dramatic quality, literary value, and appeal to young people. The scripts may be freely copied for noncommercial purposes. With a focus on ages 8 to 15, the collection features a wide range of reading levels.


Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of numerous children's books and magazine stories, as well as three books on reader's theater, "Stories on Stage," "Folktales on Stage," and "Readers on Stage." He spent five years as a professional actor in reader's theater, performing in schools and conducting workshops for teachers, librarians, and students. He now hosts Aaron Shepard's RT Page, the Web's most popular reader's theater destination, with visits by thousands of teachers and librarians each week.



"Three Sideways Stories From Wayside School," by Louis Sachar

(from Sideways Stories From Wayside School)

"Mr. Twit's Revenge," by Roald Dahl

(from The Twits)

"Millions of Cats," by Wanda Gag

"Tapiwa's Uncle," by Nancy Farmer

"How Tom Beat Captain Najork," by Russell Hoban

"Harriet," by Florence Parry Heide

(from Tales for the Perfect Child)

"Mr. Bim's Bamboo," by Carol Farley

"Talk," by Harold Courlander

(from The Cow-Tail Switch, and Other West African Stories)

"The Jade Stone," by Caryn Yacowitz

"The Bean Boy," by Monica Shannon

(from California Fairy Tales)

"The Kid from the Commercial," by Stephen Manes

(from It's New! It's Improved! It's Terrible!)

"The Fools of Chelm," by Steve Sanfield

(from The Feather Merchants, and Other Tales of the Fools of Chelm)

"Mouse Woman and the Snails," by Christie Harris

(from Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses)

"Westwoods," by Eleanor Farjeon

(from The Little Bookroom)

"The Legend of Lightning Larry," by Aaron Shepard


"What? Don't have time to write up your own scripts for reader's theater? Not to worry. Aaron Shepard will get you started with his stellar scripts -- perfect for duplicating, handing out to your students, and bringing to life. This is one must-have book." -- Judy Freeman, Author, More Books Kids Will Sit Still For

"One of the challenges of teaching is instilling in our students a love for reading. By transforming imaginative stories by some of our favorite authors into clever scripts, Aaron Shepard once again provides the means for teachers to nurture a passion for the written word. This second edition of Stories On Stage is a most worthwhile addition to your cache of reading strategies that work." -- Susan Finney, Author, Keep the Rest of the Class Reading and Writing While You Teach Small Groups

"Reader's theater gets a boost from this collection. . . . The scripts are simple and direct, multicultural, and easily reproducible for classroom use." -- Ilene Cooper, Booklist (American Library Association), Jan. 1, 1994

"Gives teachers a fun and useful tool for bringing reading and literature to their students." -- Betty S. Evans, School Library Journal, Feb. 2006

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1-6-This edition of Shepard's collection of closely adapted story scripts for elementary children is basically the same as the original (H. W. Wilson, 1993) with a couple of changes. It has been pared down from 22 stories to 15 (more available on the Web site) and omits the appendix that offered detailed information on using readers' theater in the classroom and on these scripts in particular. With its mix of humor, fantasy, and multicultural tales, such as Caryn Yacowitz's "The Jade Stone" and Harold Courlander's "Talk," this book gives teachers both a fun and useful tool for bringing reading and literature to their students.-Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938497226
  • Publisher: Shepard Publications
  • Publication date: 7/15/2005
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 164
  • Sales rank: 711,224
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Stories on Stage is a collection of reader's theater scripts for young readers, adapted from stories by fifteen different authors, including such popular ones as Louis Sachar, Nancy Farmer, and Roald Dahl. Each story was selected for its dramatic quality, literary value, and appeal to young people. Genres include fantasy, multicultural folktales, and humor.
The scripts may be freely copied, shared, and performed for any noncommercial purpose, except they may not be posted online without permission. Feel free to edit the scripts to serve the needs of your own readers.
A wide range of reading levels is included, with a focus on ages 8 to 15. Recommended reading age more or less progresses through the book, from younger to older.
A primary aim of reader's theater is to promote reading. To further this, it's good to have on hand one or more copies of the book or magazine story that the script is based on.
Above all, have fun with the scripts. Let your readers discover that reading is a treat.
In the "long" table of contents, and at the beginning of each script, you'll find notation on genre, culture of origin or setting, theme, number of readers, suggested reader ages, and approximate reading time, as well as a brief description of the story.
Also at the beginning of each script is a list of roles. A reader, of course, can be assigned more than one role, as long as only one role is "onstage" at a time. When a script is short on female characters, it's common to cast females in male roles.
Roles listed in parentheses are unscripted, with no assigned speech, and usually optional. These roles can be given to surplus readers if your directing style includes stage movement or if you choose to add speeches or sounds for these readers. In the reader count, unscripted roles are indicated by the phrase "or more."
These scripts are designed to be photocopied for direct use by readers. (That's why all the page numbers in the scripts are at top right!) For performing, some kind of binder will be helpful.
Of course, an actual stage is not required for reader's theater.  Stage here refers simply to your performance area, which could be the front of a classroom, or an open space in a one-room library, or one end of a school gym or cafeteria. (Or a script could be used as a group reading exercise, with no performance area at all.)
It's best that you first read the script-or its source story-to the young people. Some scripts may be challenging, and effective modeling will lead to greater benefit and enjoyment.
The readers can underline or highlight their own parts in their copies of the script, marking only words to be spoken. (Yellow non-fluorescent marker works well.) Any unfamiliar words should be looked up and checked for pronunciation and meaning. Added stage directions can go in the script margins-preferably in pencil, to allow corrections.
Your readers might also prepare an introduction to the story, for use in performance. While an introduction should always mention the title and the author, it could also discuss source, author background, cultural background, theme, or context within a longer work. But it shouldn't give away the plot! Notes at the beginning of some scripts will provide starting points. Introductions are most effective when spoken informally, rather than read or memorized exactly.
With many of the scripts, you can produce a lively stereo effect by dividing your narrators between the two ends of your stage. For instance, with four narrators, place Narrators 1 and 2 at far left, and 3 and 4 at far right, as seen from the audience. To preserve this effect with fewer readers, assign the roles of Narrators 1 and 2 to one reader, and 3 and 4 to another.
In some scripts, particular narrators may relate mostly to particular characters. Notes at the start of those scripts will suggest positioning the characters near the corresponding narrators.
There are many styles of reader's theater. In the most traditional style:
· Readers are arranged in a row or a semicircle, standing up or sitting on high stools. Typically, narrators are placed at one or both ends, and major characters in the center.
· Scripts can be held in hand or set on music stands.
· Readers look straight out toward the audience or at an angle, rather than at each other.
· Characters "exit" by turning their backs to the audience.
(Narrators don't normally exit.)
· "Scene changes"-jumps in time or place-can be shown by a group "freeze," followed by some kind of collective shift.

Chamber Readers, the group with which I trained and performed for five years, employs a style that is quite different, designed to appeal to young audiences. (For more details, see my book Readers on Stage.)
· Characters portray the action described in the story. Where possible, the portrayal is literal, with characters moving around the stage much as in a play. Where necessary, it's instead suggestive, as with simple mime devices like walking in place.
· Though narrators look mostly at the audience, characters look mostly at each other.
· Scripts in sturdy binders are held in one hand, leaving the other hand free for acting.
· A set of low stools and perhaps one or more high stools serve as versatile stage scenery or props.
· "Exits" and "scene changes" are handled much as in traditional reader's theater.

These scripts should lend themselves to either approach, or to any other you might choose. Feel free to create your own! There are rules in reader's theater, but luckily there is no one to enforce them.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2005

    High Interest Stories Adapted as Scripts

    Aaron Shepard has put together 15 well-written, exciting scripts for young readers. Each script excerpts or adapts a well-known story into easy, readable dialogue. Students will enjoy the antics of Roald Dahl and Louis Sachar. Hopefully, these excerpts will inspire students to pick up the original books and read them in their entirety. Readers Theatre has been shown to improve reading fluency. The high interest nature of these selections should keep students engaged and excited about learning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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