Script or no script? Writing a script can have a downside. A script reduces spontaneous and natural responses and can end up sounding canned. Many EatYourRadio stories are simply done with questions and answers and observations of students, without any script. But scripts can have benefits. Writing a script is great practice for literacy and language, and once a script is completed, it can save time for when it’s time to record or narrate a story. Writing a script is also a good way to keep track of the story you want to tell, or to track where you’ll need someone to add in some explanation and narration later. But one caution: It’s tempting for adults to choose all the words and ideas that will be in a script. Sometimes, it happens. But please, ask grownups not to do that here. For Eat Your Radio, it’s important to keep any script a student project, with LOADS of student input. And it always works best when the script COMES ALIVE in the voices of the students of just being grownup words read out loud by kids. It’s also best when students TELL a story, engaging their imaginations as they speak, instead of reading it. TELLING is interesting. Reading sounds, well, read.
Tips for script-writing and reading
- COACH students to write a script that will tell a story and makes it come alive. If you need a script, it helps to have someone coach the students on what to have in the script by asking the students questions and getting their answers. Or, have the students start by writing the “script” as a letter to a friend, or as part of a diary to themselves. Tell them not to worry about spelling or grammer when they start. Instead, just focus on how to tell a great story with their words.
- Try script “prompting” exact lines. If the students need to read a script EXACTLY, such as the time and place of an event, it help if one person is reading the script line, and then the student who’s being recorded SAYS it back. Somehow, voices and faces are livelier when a student is saying the words back to a friend than when the student is just reading a script. (And this gives everyone practice in reading and listening)
- Try “how would you say this?” The liveliest way to prompt a student to tell the story written in a script is like this: Tell the student who is being recorded the basic idea of what you need, then have the student share the idea back in his or her own words. A student or an adult can be the coach for “how do you say this?)
- When talking, ask students to also use their hands and faces, to help tell the story. This works great for video, and even when it’s only an audio recording, this helps bring life and excitement to voices.
- Try using shorter “prompts.” If it’s hard for a student to remember everything there is to say, then Cue the lines to say one sentence at a time, and keep the sentence simple.
- Find phrases to emphasize. If there’s something special that needs to be especially exciting, have the students record it more than once, to get high energy and attention into how they say it.
- Do retakes If the first script “reading” doesn’t work, then try again. You can take the best part of two or three takes and knit them together with sound editing software.