Play Encourages Children To Read


Colton Justice (left) helps Chance McLellan find his place to begin his portion of the narration of the story “The Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.”

Colton Justice (left) helps Chance McLellan find his place to begin his portion of the narration of the story “The Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.” Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Parents sat beaming and snapping pictures along the back wall inside a Frontier Elementary School classroom recently while their second-grade students performed a Readers’ Theater play.

The students donned costumes and read aloud a fall-themed play, adapted from a book called, “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.”

In the story, a little old lady sets off from her apartment for a walk into the forest to collect herbs, nuts and seeds. She walked for so long that the sky began to grow dark. As night approached, the old lady turned around to head home.

But a pair of shoes stood in her way. The shoes said, “Clomp clomp,” as did the child playing shoes in the Readers’ Theater.

“I’m not afraid of you,” said the little old lady, walking past.

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Gracey Henderson turns and looks behind her during the performance of the book, “The Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.”

Then a pair of pants stepped onto her path, and said, “wiggle, wiggle.” The lady told them, “I’m not afraid of you.”

A few steps down the path, a shirt blocked the way. “Shake, shake,” said the shirt.

One by one, the old lady told all the articles of clothing that they could not scare her.

Gloves tried. “Clap, clap,” they said. A hat attempted. “Nod, nod” it went.

Then, as the little old lady finally approached her cottage, a big ol’ pumpkin head blocked the path and shouted, “Boo!”

The little old lady ran into the cottage and locked her door. She heard a knock, knock on the door.

“We’ve come to scare you,” all the clothing items told her.

“I’m not afraid of you,” the old lady insisted. Then she said, “I have an idea.”

She whispered her plan to all the rattling creatures, something aimed to satisfy their need for scaring people.

At the book’s end, all the creatures gathered and made a scarecrow, left to scare birds for infinity.

Teacher Brianne DeWitte said she usually organizes the plays annually. However, this year’s students enjoy acting so much that this Readers’ Theater marked the third this year.

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Lined up and waiting for the audience to file in and listen to their tale of “The Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” are (from left to right) Lydia Schouten, Micheal Boggess, Connor Faust, Dauntee Tinnin, Emma Clark, Soto Sellis, Shelby McNeeley and Chance McLellan.

The goal is to encourage reading.

“I do it to get the family involved and to encourage even reluctant readers to practice reading at home,” said DeWitte. “Parents can help kids read the book at home after they see the play.”

Families became involved with organizing the play, too. Grandmom Holly Crump made costumes for the kids. The child playing the pants held up a pair of green pants, just like in the book. The kid playing gloves held a pair of gloves on a stick. The big ol’ pumpkin head came to life as a plastic pumpkin, also on a stick. Local grandfather Everett Cobb helped with the set, which consisted of a tree covered in fall-colored leaves and a few evergreens on a black paper background.

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