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A Christmas Carol for Children to Read Outloud

This version was created for kids to read, plain and simple. No words have been added, they are all Dickens
himself! It was edited from his historic public reading version that took him 3 hours to read to be whittled down
to about 30 minutes of script. A lot was edited out (what a task and truly a joy to edit one of the English
language's most famous authors!), and so were many characters as well to create this child's reading version, but
which still flows and conveys the essential story. The vocabulary is relatively simple and understandable,
emphasizes the concrete versus the abstract, and is definitely meant to be fun, and has the potential of being rich
in sights (gestures, facial expressions and movement) and sounds (accents, tone of voice and sound effects). A
great tool perhaps to encourage children to “read with feeling?” Given the high energy of elementary children
just before the holiday break in December, potentially a great way to keep the kids focused and “on task” at this
educationally challenging time of year for both teachers and students alike is this dramatic reading performance.

                                The Reading Performance

The performance is meant to be playful and fun and inclusive. There are upwards of 30 people needed to read it
if new children are assigned roles for each act (referred to by Dickens as “Staves” by the way in the original),
some lines being very short (the Flame has only 5 words!) and others very extensive (the narrator and Scrooge).
Scrooge is definitely the star of the show, and Bob Cratchit best-supporting actor. Perhaps the teacher or another
adult should be the narrator? Casting is left up to “the director,” of course, but this is not meant to be a
Broadway production, or even a school production, but a learning experience, a fun learning experience for all
children, as actors or audience members, so they can be introduced to reading in a new way, live theater in a
way, and listen to a truly great story of English literature. Perhaps half the class could read it, the other as
audience, and then the next week, they could switch roles. Actors learn not only from being actors, but also by
watching other actors as audience members as well. And EVERY kid can be part of the performance, if you're
not an “actor” then you CAN sing the carols!

                                                                           The Carols

Some surprising history from Wikipedia and other internet sources.

"Deck the Halls" is a traditional Yuletide and New Years' carol. The melody is Welsh and belongs to a winter
carol, Nos Galan. The first English version appeared in The Franklin Square Song Collection, edited by
J.P.McCaskey in 1881. Apparently, the author of the lyrics is unknown and may be American in origin!

"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" is a poem and Christmas carol written by Edmund Sears, pastor of the
Unitarian Church in Weston, Massachusetts. It first appeared on December 29, 1849 in the Christian Register in
Boston. Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, W. P. Lunt, a minister in Quincy,
Massachusetts. In 1850 Richard Storrs Willis, a composer who trained under Felix Mendelssohn, wrote the

"We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is a sixteenth-century English carol, composer and author apparently
unknown. The origin of this Christmas carol lies in the English tradition where wealthy people of the community
gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas eve. It is one of the few traditional holiday carols that makes
mention of the New Year celebration.

                                                                  Christmas” at school?

Yes and no. Yes, we ARE talking “Christmas” in terms of English literature, history and traditions. No, we are
not trying to do anything else. It IS one of many starting points to consider other history, stories and traditions
celebrated and practiced both in America and around the entire world! FINAL NOTE: I created this version as
“a gift” so teachers and anyone else could use it free-of-charge and without my express permission. The only
reason I copyrighted it was so that no one else could come along, copy it, and copyright it for themselves!


                                                                        © 2009 Al LePage