Oral Interpretation of Literature: Readers' Theater

Joan Kennedy


The pedagogical principle of experiential learning embodied in the oral interpretation of literature through Readers’ Theater provides an avenue to accomplish a seemingly daunting task. Students’ participation in reading, interpreting, discussing, writing, assessing, and performing their own creative responses to a literary work promotes a learning activity that leaves an indelible mark on their educational process as they explore complex and abstract levels of thinking—in real time, no less. The activity entices students out of the virtual world of technology to explore a tangible sphere of performance. The thought processes that the activity demands cover the gamut of Bloom’s taxonomy of skills, which defines levels of intellectual behavior important to learning. The synthesis and evaluation elements at the top of the taxonomy demand creative behavior. Anderson and Krathwohl’s revision of the taxonomy— remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating—also places creativity at the top of the hierarchy of skills.


pedagogy; literature; readers' theater; poetry

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