To help students identify important words in speech and use emphasis in their voice.

step 1

Operatives are the words in theater that carry the most important information. Provide an example with a sentence: I am hungry. Hungry is the operative. We emphasize words intuitively all the time. Try a longer sentence that has two operatives in it such as: I don’t wear skirts, I wear pants.

step 2

Handout a short piece of text and project it for all to see. Ask for volunteers to read the text aloud as they normally would (using articulation).

step 3

Ask volunteers to identify the operative(s) in the first line. Discuss what the line means, what the writer is communicating. Read the
sentence emphasizing the operative(s) the class identified. If that sounds right to everyone, invite a student to go up to the overhead and underline the word(s). Continue on like this through the whole text.

step 4

Once the class has completed finding the operatives, ask a volunteer to read the entire text aloud emphasizing the operatives only.

Art Making

Copies of a challenging piece of text
Overhead projector
White board or chalk board