About 15 preteens are brushing up on both their reading and acting skills as they spend their Tuesday afternoons learning how to perform "Rumpelstiltskin" and other classical stories.
Today is the last day for children ages 10 to 13 to join the Readers' Theater for Tweens at the Lodi Public Library. There will be six practices before the "troupe" performs at library storytimes or area pre-schools.
The preteens will each be assigned a character in a fairy tale, folk tale or legend and then learn the script through repeated practices, Library Services Director Nancy Martinez said. The practices take place at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.
The performers will not have to memorize the parts but instead will learn how to read them with inflection while acting out different scenes, Martinez said.
"It's a really good technique for building up the skills of poor readers, because they read the same thing over and over again," she said.
Martinez got the idea from a library she used to work at that had a theater group for adults. She created the program and then searched for about $1,000 to run two six-week sessions.
She received the money from the Friends of the Lodi Public Library, who secured a grant from the City of Lodi Division of Arts and Culture.
Martinez plans to run another six-week session between Lodi Unified School District's spring break and summer. "You take a kid who is reluctant to read and give them a fun experience," Martinez said.
Any tweens interested in the program need to show up at the rehearsal at 3:30 p.m. today at the library, 201 W. Locust Street.