Thursday, May 30, 2013

Using Role Play to Boost Comprehension

Role play is kind of a win-win situation.  Kids - especially those that haven't yet developed a fear of being the center of attention - generally love it.  And without realizing it, they're retelling the story they just heard, which, as we all know, is a great way to remember what we just heard.  

None (yay!), except the book or story you're reading and perhaps any props the kids might want to use.

There really isn't any wrong way to have the kids act out the story, so I don't have a hard and fast tutorial.  Instead, I'll show you what we did last night and encourage you to try it with your own family!

Every night we read a story from this book:

I totally recommend it.  It's pretty thorough as far as covering the big stories in the Bible and the kids love it.  That's enough for a stamp of approval in my book.  

It can be a little wordy for my kids, though.  Sometimes I wonder if they've gotten lost because there are few pictures and it requires a fairly high level of concentration.  So one night after reading, I suggested that they act out the story they just heard.  They thought that was just brilliant.  So began our nightly tradition: read the story, act it out.  They feel like they've been shortchanged if, for some reason, we're late getting to bed and don't have time for the role play. 

Last night, we read a story out of Numbers 13:1-33: Spies in the Land and Numbers 14:1-45: The Long Desert Journey.  This was a perfect story to act out - lots of action!

Moses sent 12 men to spy out the land of Canaan. 

The spies saw the giants and 10 of them became very afraid.

All the Israelites also became afraid and complained.   

So God made them wander in the desert for 40 years until... 

The older generation all passed away. 

And God let their children enter the Promised Land.

A few words of encouragement: Don't expect very young children to be able to role play without help.  We still direct the action a little bit.  We also join in some if we find that the story requires an extra character.  If your kids aren't into it at first, I wouldn't push it.  You might try again in a few weeks.  Role play is generally more effective if the adults are into it.  Excitement breeds excitement!

And have fun!!

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