This exploration is for all ages, as the colored smilies show. You can do the Seven Brother reader’s theater with your whole family together!
The Chinese Tale of Seven Brothers reader’s theater is a combination history, geography, and arts exploration from Unit 2-16. The unit covers the history of medieval China and Japan, a geography section about China, and an Asian arts section (there’s also a terrific science component about electricity in this one!). Layers of Learning has hands-on explorations in every unit of this family-friendly curriculum. Learn more about Layers of Learning.
Reading stories from any culture can reveal what they value. The culture, values, and strength of the Chinese people come to life through their stories. Especially in light of the Cultural Revolution, which suppressed the Chinese people by attempting to destroy their knowledge and stories, we must recognize the role that stories play in helping us pass on our culture and our identities. Stories unify, teach, pass on values, and reveal historical and cultural truths.
Step 1: Library Research
Before you begin the reader’s theater, read a book or two about China. Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find these, look for books at your library about China, Chinese myths, or Asian arts. The colored smilies above each book tell you what age level they’re recommended for.
As Amazon affiliates, the recommended books and products below kick back a tiny percentage of your purchase to us. It doesn’t affect your cost and it helps us run our website. We thank you!
Welcome To China
by Caryn Jenner
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story From China
by Ai-ling Louie
by Lonely Planet
Step 2: The Tale of Seven Chinese Brothers Reader’s Theater
All you need for this exploration is the printable readers’ theater script: The Seven Chinese Brothers. Make one copy for each person participating.
Assign each part to a reader (some can double up if you lack participants) and begin following the script.
Step 3: Show What You Know
After the reader’s theater is over, have each person answer these two questions out loud in a discussion:
- What cultural values did you see within the story?
- What is one interesting thing you learned about China from your reading?
Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. You will find them in the sidebars of each Layers of Learning unit. They are optional, so just choose what interests you.
The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world. Over a million people died while building it. It is sometimes called the longest cemetery on earth. The Chinese people have endured some hardships in their past, but they are resilient and hard-working.
During China’s Cultural Revolution Mao Zedong burned many books to destroy the knowledge and stories of the Chinese people. He wanted them to remain subservient and controllable. Nazis also notoriously burned books. When books begin burning, we must question why.
Xi Jinping is the president of China. His father worked with Mao Zedong, but then openly criticized the government after the Tienanmen Square massacre.