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Jane Furuseth: Readers Theater celebrates 10th year of performances

The Readers Theater celebrates its 10th year of appearances at Bemidji area elementary schools this year. As part of the America Reads program, the Readers Theater promotes the love of reading through a dramatic presentation of children’s books.

This November, the Readers Theater performed at Paul Bunyan, Lincoln and Central elementary schools. Later this school year the troupe will perform for the remaining four schools in the Bemidji district. This year’s play is based on a book whose title is “The Empty Pot” by the author Demi.

The group has given a total of 98 performances over its 10 year span and presents to approximately 1,400 students each school year. Appearances have been made at some schools outside the district, and at other venues when requested.

Allen Benson, one of the first Readers Theater participants, has scripted 14 books for use as plays. Some of the books that have been scripted include: “Oliver, Amanda and Grandmother Pig,” “A Ballad of China,” “Six Foolish Fishermen,” “Perfect Crane” and more.

With every story, the group does its best to accentuate the life lessons that can be learned. Students are eager to share what they see as lessons at the end of each performance.  

A goal of the Readers Theater is to encourage interaction between generations. The kids get to see elders doing fun and often silly things as the book is acted out. Readers Theater volunteers have a lot of fun together and truly enjoy spending time with the young students.

For more information about volunteering with America Reads or the Readers Theater, contact Jane Furuseth, Area Coordinator, at 218-766-9494 or stop by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) office at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf.

JANE FURUSETH is the RSVP/America Reads Area Coordinator.