My read-aloud plays have become mainstays in Scholastic classroom magazines. My first, an adaption of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, appeared in the December 1998 issue of Storyworks. Today I have dozens of plays in print. Some are available only to Scope and Storyworks subscribers, others are available in either of two collections, and many are available through TeachersPayTeachers. For three or four bucks, purchasers get reproduction and performance rights, and a nice set of standards-based comprehension activities.
Long before Scrooge there was Gabriel Grub, the gravedigger. From Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, this eerie adaption is a perfect complement to the Christmas Carol story or a wonderful stand-alone Gothic holiday play. Gabriel is the sullen sexton who scowls at holiday mirth. He goes to the churchyard on Christmas eve to dig a grave and there encounters the Goblin King and a chorus of imps. He’s pulled into the grave and finds himself on trial for failing to believe in the Christmas Spirit. It’s Dickens’ at his best! Enough parts for an entire class, or double up roles and stage it with as few as twelve. Suitable for reader’s theater or a full stage production. Use it with grades 5 and up. (Warning: it may be too scary for younger students). Fully reproducible: original purchaser is licensed to print a class set each year for use in his or her own classroom.
This is a traditional re-telling of the endearing story of a husband and wife who pawn their most precious things in order to buy gifts for one another, only to discover the gifts are no longer needed. The original story was written by William Sydney Porter, who wrote under the pen-name “O. Henry.” He was famous for plot twists and surprise endings. Students will likely be familiar with the plot because it’s been so readily adapted everywhere from Sesame Street to the Simpson’s to Walt Disney. Parts for nine students in grades 4 through 8. It originally appeared in the Nov.Dec. 2001 issue of Storyworks, was reprinted in the Dec. 2010 issue of Scope, and is today included in the collection: Read Aloud Plays: Classic Short Stories (see below).
The Dickens classic comes alive with this age-appropriate version from the Dec. 1998 issue of Storyworks. It includes roles for fourteen students (though some can be doubled-up) as well as two or more non-speaking extras. In addition to being a pleasant holiday-oriented play, this is a great story for studying characterization and motivation. Also note, another version, this with a female lead (Eleanora Scrooge rather than Ebenezer), appears in Read Aloud Plays: Classic Short Stories. To see how far you can take a class play, be sure to check out the sixteen minute film my fifth graders created in 2012! (Note: Scrooge is available only during the holiday season. Bah Humbug!)