Children read, act after school

After school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, dozens of Fisher Elementary School third and fourth graders get in groups to practice acting and reading.

Reader Theater is a pilot program that teaches students reading and acting skills. The program directed by Marshalltown Parks and Recreation staff, is partnered with the Iowa State University Extension and Fisher Elementary School.

“We’re trying to see if this is going to in any way help with the Read by 3rd initiative,” said Jenni Hart, of Marshalltown Parks and Recreation. “Through acting and reading scripts, it allows kids to express and tell a story and read at the same time. They are getting two things out of it.”

Reader Theater is only offered at Fisher Elementary School, if the program has success, it will expand.

“It’s still new,” Hart said. “We just started and we’ll be collecting data with the help of the teachers at Fisher to see where the kids have started and where they have progressed to. If it’s a success then we will expand to not only other schools but to other grade levels as well.”

Rachel Smith, a fourth grader in the program, said she enjoys it.

“It’s a really good experience for you because then you get to experience that feeling of acting and talking in front of crowds,” Smith said.

Kaiden McWilliams, a third grader, said he has fun with some of the acting activities.

“I think it’s a lot of fun at Reader Theater because you get to act like animals and stuff like that,” McWilliams said.

Jonah Landas, a fourth grader, said he likes it because it gives him something to do.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to do,” Landas said. “It’s really fun and you get to spend time with people and it actually gives you something to do in your free time.”

The Marshalltown Parks and Recreation staff is looking for people with acting experience or have been a part of the Spread the Words-Read by 3rd initiative to help volunteer with the program.

“We are looking for anybody that wants to give their expertise in theater or storytelling and things like that,” Hart said.

If anyone is interested in volunteering, contact Marshalltown Parks and Recreation at 641-754-5715.