Growing Independence and Fluency
is the art of reading with expression, speed, and accuracy. Children
better understand what they are reading when they read with fluency. Fluent
readers are more likely to be lifelong readers, which is the ultimate goal
of reading education. Helping children to become fluent by practicing fluency
helps them on the way to a better education.
Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young, Reader's Theatre
for Lon Po Po
Lon Po Po
Basket, attached to rope
Narrator: Once, long ago, there was a woman who lived alone in the country with her three children, Shang, Tao, and Paotze. On the day of their grandmother's birthday, the good mother set off to see her, leaving the three children at home.
Mother: Be good while I am away, my heart-loving children; I will not return tonight. Remember to close the door tight at sunset and latch it well.
Narrator: But an old wolf lived nearby and saw the good mother leave. At dusk, disguised as an old woman, he came up to the house of the children and knocked on the door twice.
Shang (through the latched door): Who is it?
Wolf: My little jewels, this is your grandmother, you Po Po.
Wolf (acting surprised): To visit me?I have not met her along the way.She must have taken a different route.
Wolf:Your grandmother has caught a cold, good children, and it is dark and windy out here.Quickly open up, and let your Po Po come in.
Narrator:Tao and Paotze could not wait.One unlatched the door, and the other opened it.
Tao (at same time as Paotze): Po Po, Po Po, come in!
Paotze (at same time as Tao): Po Po, Po Po, come in!
Narrator:At the moment he entered the door, the wolf blew out the candle.
Narrator:The wolf did not answer.Tao and Paotze rushed to their Po Po and wished to be hugged.
Wolf(holding Tao): Good child, you are so plump.(Embracing Paotze) Good child, you have grown to be so sweet.
Narrator:Soon the old wolf pretended to be sleepy.
Wolf(yawning):All the chicks are in the coop.Po Po is sleepy too.
Narrator: When he climbed into the big bed, Paotze climbed in at one end with wolf, and Shang and Tao climbed in the other.But when Chang stretched, she touched the wolf's tail.
Shang: (touching grandmother's sharp claws): Po Po, Po Po, your hand has thorns in it.
Narrator:At once, Shang lit the light and the wolf blew it out again, but Shang had seen the wolf's hairy face.
Wolf: What is gingko?
Shang:Gingko is soft and tender, like the skin of a baby.One taste and you will live forever.And the nuts grow on the top of the tree just outside the door.
Wolf: Oh dear.Po Po is old, her bones have become brittle.No longer can she climb trees.
Shang: Good Po Po, we can pick some for you.
Narrator:The wolf was delighted.Shang jumped out of bed and Tao and Paotze came with her to the gingko tree.The wolf waited and waited.Plump Tao did not come back.Sweet Paotze did not come back.Shang did not come back, and no one brought any nuts from the gingko tree.At last the wolf shouted.
Wolf: Where are you children?
Wolf(begging): Good children, pluck some for me.
Shang: But Po Po, gingko is magic only when it is plucked directly from the tree.You must come and pluck it from the tree yourself.
Narrator:The wolf came outside and paced back and forth under the tree where he heard the three children eating the gingko nuts at the top.
Shang:Oh, Po Po, these nuts are so tasty!The skin is so tender.
Narrator:The wolf's mouth began to water for a taste.
Shang(finally): Po Po, Po Po, I have a plan.At the door there is a big basket.Behind it is a rope.Tie the rope to the basket, sit in the basket, and throw the other end to me.I can pull you up.
Narrator:The wolf was overjoyed and fetched the basket and the rope, then threw one end of the rope to the top of the tree.Shang caught the rope and began to pull the basket up and up. Halfway she let go of the rope, and the basket and the wolf fell to the ground.
Shang(pretending):I am so small and weak, Po Po.I could not hold the rope alone.
Tao: This time I will help.Let's do it again.
Narrator:The wolf had only one thought in his mind: to taste a gingko nut.He climbed into the basket again.Now Shang and Tao pulled the rope on the basket together, higher and higher.Again, they let go, and again the wolf tumbled down, down, and bumped his head.The wolf was furious. He growled.
Shang:We could not hold the rope, Po Po.But only one gingko nut and you will be well again.
Paotze:I shall give a hand to my sisters this time.This time we shall not fail.
Children (pulling with all their strength, singing): Hei yo, hei yo.
Narrator:The basket rose straight up, higher than the first time, higher than the second time, higher and higher until it nearly reached the top of the tree.When the wolf reached out, he could almost touch the highest branch.But at that moment, Shang coughed and they all let go of the rope, and the basket fell down and down and down.Not only did the wolf bump his head, but he broke his heart to pieces.
Narrator:There was no answer.The children climbed to the branches just above the wolf and saw that he was truly dead.Then they climbed down, went into the house, closed the door, locked the door with the latch and fell peacefully asleep.On the next day, their mother returned with baskets of food from their real Po Po, and the three sisters told her the story of the Po Po who had come.