Blogger Susan Baier

School Assemblies – Make the Kids the Stars of the Show!


“We’d love for you to appear at our end-of-the year assembly. There will be 300 kids representing kindergarten through 5th grade, and we’ve slotted 20 minutes for you to present. Thanks!”


I’ve been on the receiving end of these generous offers from principals. I’ll be honest with you — I find it challenging. 20 minutes is a long time to keep that large and diverse of group engaged. I do have some tricks up my sleeve, but I’m not a magician. I tell a good story, but I would never put myself in the leagues with professional storytellers. I sing (badly) at storytime, but toddlers are a much more forgiving audience than 9 year-olds.

My solution?  Let the kids be the stars of the show! (Or, to put a more cynical spin on it — make the kids do the work for you.)

I wrote a series of brief scripts describing very popular and easily recognizable children’s books. I call up a series of student volunteers, give them some simple props, and ask them to read aloud the scripts. The kids in the audience have to guess the book. And guess what — they always do!

A few hints before we begin: the use of a microphone makes this much easier. You might have a student volunteer who gets stage fright or struggles a bit with reading. Don’t make a big deal out of it — let the kids hold the props and take over the reading duties yourself. Keep it light and fun, and the kids will follow your lead.

So let’s start the show…

Librarian: “I know (insert school name here) is full of great readers. But I want to see just how well you know your books. I’m going to need volunteers (of course, every kid’s hand starts waving wildly) to describe a popular book. Some of these books you loved as little kids, and some of them you love now. Audience — when you know what book we’re describing, raise your hand. Don’t shout the answer until I ask you to do so.”

Volunteer #1- kindergartener

Prop — “Cat in the Hat” Hat

On cold, wet days when mothers take leave

I make messes like you wouldn’t believe

I have help from my friends Thing 1 and Thing 2

And I know lots of tricks and games to show you

Who am I?

Answer: Cat in the Hat

Volunteer #2 — 1st grader

Prop — Banana (I use play food. If you’re brave and want to use a real banana, be my guest.)

The Man in the Yellow Hat takes good care of me, even though I sometimes get in a little bit of trouble. I love bananas, and I have a long curly tail. Who am I?

Answer: Curious George

Volunteer #3 — 2nd grader

Prop — Cheese (again, I use play food.)

I live in New Mouse City, and I work at a newspaper called the Rodent Gazette. My absolute favorite food in the entire world is cheese. Who am I?

Answer: Geronimo Stilton

Volunteer #4 — 3rd grader (girl)

Prop — Globe

My brother Dan and I travel around the world to try to be the first to solve a family mystery. Speaking of family, our family tree has some pretty famous names. Ever heard of Benjamin Franklin or Isaac Newton? I’m from what series of books?

Answer: 39 Clues

Volunteer #5 — 4th grader

Prop — Ink Pen

You may think I’m just holding a pen, but you would be surprised at what this thing can do. I attend a pretty awesome camp for kids like myself. My favorite color is blue. Who am I?

Answer: Percy Jackson

Volunteer #6 — 5th grader

Prop — Toy egg

Middle school can be a drag. My older brother is such a pain. My dad wants me to be a jock, but I would rather hang out on the couch and play video games. I avoid touching cheese, and I didn’t do a good job of caring for an egg in health class. I am from what series of books?

Answer: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Want some more options? Here are some bonus scripts:

Prop — sunglasses, feather boa

Ooh la la! I love parties and frilly dresses. Everything sounds better when you say it in French. I like to wear lots of accessories and use big words. Who am I?

Answer: Fancy Nancy

Prop — Harry Potter glasses

I study wizardry at Hogwarts. I have a lightning bolt scar on my forehead. I love playing Quidditch, and I miss my pet owl Hedwig terribly. Who am I?

Answer: Harry Potter

Try your hand at writing some of your own, have fun, and let the kids be shining stars!


 Posted by Susan Baier, Santa Clara City Library


  1. Stacy Dillon

    What a great idea! I’ve had kids do some reader’s theater in the past, but I like the more interactive nature of this activity. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Carey V.

    What a great idea! I love this. I think it would be a fun game to play at one of our family night programs. It’s always a challenge to find things that will appeal to all ages. I have a feeling even the parents would want to join in on the fun. Thanks!

  3. Pompey

    This is great! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sharon McClintock

    This is creative and so fun. I can see how the kids would love it. I’ll have to try it with the multiple-class visits we get at the end of the year. Thanks for posting!

  5. Larry Weaver

    I appreciate the tip to keep an assembly light and fun for kids. From doing science shows to raising awareness about interacting with others, school assemblies should always be engaging. So long as children can walk away from an assembly having learned something new, I would say that an assembly would be a success.

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