Oral Interpretation

Author(s): Natalie A. N. Parker and Marsha C. Bradley

E-mail Address: or

School: Houston High School, 9755 Dogwood Rd., Germantown, TN 38139;

Bolton High School, 7323 Brunswick Rd., Arlington, TN 38002

Subject/Grade Level: Theatre Arts I, grades 9-12

Principal Curricular Area(s) Addressed: Fine Arts


Oral Interpretation is the expression and sharing of literature with an audience. The function of the interpreter is to establish oneself as a liaison between the author who created the literature and the audience which responds to it. The goal of the interpreter should be influenced by the author's intention which can be discovered by investigation into the author's background, viewpoint and the time and conditions under which the selection was written. For purpose of expectations, we will perform Oral Interpretations along the guidelines of THSSDL (Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League). Schools that participate in speech tournaments or that have a curriculum that includes performance standards use this assignment to introduce the use of voice, facial expressions, and gestures to interpret pieces of literature: poetry, prose and drama.

Learning Goals

Student will learn...

Learner Activities

  1.  to discuss performance expectations and view rubrics for evaluation
  2. to evaluate ten selections of each genre in order to choose the appropriate production pieces
  3. to view (if possible) advanced student and professional performances live or on tape and to participate in oral discussion about options for performance.
  4. to complete reading logs of works in progress for performance: speeches, song lyrics, poems, short fiction and nonfiction, and plays and to write introductions, transitions, character analyses
  5. to rehearse performance pieces, using individual and group modeling activities
  6. to perform prepared work for class, other classes, student assemblies, parents, and competitions
  7. to offer constructive criticism

Teacher/Student Resources

Performance Pieces


Cultural Diversity

Composition for Theatre

Verbal and Nonverbal Methods

Rubrics for Evaluation


 You may evaluate this web adventure.



 We hope that preparing for oral interpretation, that you appreciate the complexity of this creative process. This is just one example of how to approach performance. As we all know, the essence of this art lies within the performer. Performers must challenge themselves to strive for excellence. If you have comments or suggestions, we would like to hear from you, by e-mail: Parker / Bradley or by mail: Houston High School, 9755 Dogwood Rd., Germantown, TN 38139; Bolton High School, 7323 Brunswick Rd., Arlington, TN 38002. We hope you enjoyed your adventure.