Incoming ninth and tenth grade students enrolled in the high school’s Summer ENL Program presented a Reader's Theater rendition of William Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" on a recent morning in the school’s cafeteria. A Reader’s Theater performance involves actors reading a script on stage rather than performing it from memory.
The five-week ENL program allowed students to work on their English skills while also preparing them for the upcoming fall curriculum. For the first three weeks, ENL teacher Sonal Patel-Sheth worked with the students on reading comprehension, writing skills, and grammar, and during the last two weeks, ENL teacher Deborah Levy focused on speaking skills and theater background skills and also facilitated rehearsals for “Romeo and Juliet.”
In her welcome remarks to family members and friends attending the performance, Levy said she was extremely proud of the students. “For me, it’s important to challenge yourself,” she said. “This has been very difficult for these students. It’s not only reading and speaking English – it’s “Old English.”
The students learned acting skills such as enunciating the English words properly, acting with emotion, using props, and even simulating sword fighting on stage. “Besides gaining skills specific to theater, the goal of this session was for students to feel more comfortable speaking up in class, giving presentations, and perhaps even acting in other plays in the future,” said Levy. “I want to congratulate our students for bravely going on stage for the first time.”