Six teens from our YA group presented "In Which Tigger Comes to the Forest and Has Breakfast" to an audience of 31 children to celebrate Winnie the Pooh's 75th birthday. The script came from Presenting Reader's Theater by Caroline Feller Bauer. There are many scripts already prepared in this book suitable for a child audience.
I asked the teens to read the script round robin style at a YA meeting, each teen reading a line so we could hear the story. Then I asked who would like to present this play to the children and then I cast the roles after they experimented a little with expressions and voices.
The hardest part of all of this was scheduling practices! Our only practice with everyone here at the same time was an hour before the presentation, but that worked just fine. The two other practices were spent on making some cartoon like props from poster board and working out the logistics of coming in and where everyone needed to stand, how Tigger was going to move through the scenes and how to end the play.
We presented the play as the first part of an hour long birthday party program. After the play which took approximately 15 minutes, the children were divided into 4 groups, named for Pooh characters, and rotated through 4 different activity centers. They decorated bear cutout cookies and had punch, they played action games (Pooh Sticks, Hot Potato with a Bee, and a Kanga and Roo jumping game), they watched a Pooh video while coloring Pooh pictures, and they played a memory game and word search. The teens helped with these activities.
The teens were excited to try Reader's Theatre and asked to do it again. The children in the audience laughed at the right places and remained attentive through the story. Several of the children told the teens they really liked the play.
©2012, 2001. RoseMary Honnold.