This past year I introduced my students to O. Henry’s “Hearts and Hands” for the first time.
To make things fun, I decided to allow students to read the story readers’ theater style. I typed up the story as a script, put the students in groups, and had them read it aloud. I provided them with a reading guide to complete in groups as well.
The fun part came next. I assigned each group a section of the story, or in this case the script, and told them to modernize it. They had to keep the same basic plot but write it as if it were happening this day in time. Then, the groups took turns acting out their portion of the story. It was quite amusing to see what the students came up with. Cell phones, social media, and modern day music all became a part of this classic plot. This activity really ensured that the students understood the text, and it certainly required them to return to the text and decipher what they read.