The reading specialist and I sat down with a small group of fifth graders to let them know that they'd been selected to participate in a drama club two days a week during their lunch time. Many of them participated in readers' theater at the end of last year and we'd noticed just how involved they'd become with the plays. In fact, one boy kept asking me when he can write his own play, and after every book we read the group asks when we can put it together as a play. If they were this interested in putting on plays we figured we needed to follow their lead and give them the opportunity.
The group is made up of students we know are interested in plays, but also a group of students who need extra practice to read at grade level. We're hoping the drama club will help with their fluency as well as their ability to discuss characters, main idea, and promote a deeper understanding of comprehending the text.
The group cheered when we told them. They applauded and laughed with excitement. One girl asked what drama was. Once she understood then she smiled with satisfaction at the idea. Another boy asked if this meant he got double reading, and when I said yes, two days a week, he cheered again. We'd basically just delivered the message that they were going to miss lunch with their friends twice a week in order to do extra reading. And they couldn't stop smiling, which of course meant we couldn't stop smiling either. Their reaction to our news will continue to play on my mental highlight reel when I think about reasons I love my job. It felt like Christmas morning.
Today is our first day and -fingers crossed- hopefully the energy will continue. I hope that following this group's interest and passion will help us close the gap and send them off to middle school reading on grade level. This is our last chance with this group of students and we owe it to them to do everything we can to give them the literacy and critical thinking skills they'll need the rest of their lives. Why not have fun doing it?