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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Miss Alaineus on Stage

This afternoon six third graders delighted their peers, their principal, their librarians (public and school), and parents with an adaptation of Debra Frasier's Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster. Scene changes between the classroom, Sage's bedroom, the grocery store, and the museum were signaled by the lights on and off. The periphery sentences from the book (Mrs. Page's extra credit assignment for her class in which they could write 26 sentences using at least three words from each alphabet letter in the corresponding sentence) were periodically read aloud by the actors and then displayed on a chart. They even created their own Vocabulary Parade costumes to wear for the play's/book's last scene. Their reading teacher's version of the script worked wonderfully.

The most incredible thing was perhaps the presence of author and illustrator Debra Frasier in the audience. She carefully listened to this version of her story and frequently photographed the scenes. Afterward, she commented on their amazing props, their organization, the improvised bed (two chairs) used by Sage when she was sick, the cell phone (different from the corded phone used in the book), and the connection between the book and a time when her own daughter figured out there was not a person named Miss Alaineus.

Interaction with vocabulary and text is powerful for readers, and the six weeks theses readers spent learning lines, pronouncing words new to them, and practicing for the performance solidified an obvious confidence in them. Being able to perform for the book's author was something they will always remember.

Each of the actors was glad to have a photograph taken with Debra and receive a signed copy of the book!


  1. What wonderful experience for all involved!

  2. How kind of Debra to make a point of coming to their performance!