Balance Publishing Company

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By Linda Pliagas

Before the age of computers and television, American families would come together in their living rooms and huddle around the radio to listen to their favorite programs. Little did we realize what a great teaching tool these productions are.

“Writing and producing a radio drama is a real-life activity that not only draws the student in, but integrates all the language skills,” explains Don Kisner, owner of Balance Publishing Company.

His company, based in Sanger, California, has been producing and selling radio drama-related materials for grades six through adult since 1984.

While Kisner was teaching, he noticed that it was a “real problem” to get his students motivated to use language arts. As a theatre arts college major, Kisner was the perfect person to bring the excitement of radio dramas into the classroom.

“Radio drama encourages and develops internal visualization,” Kisner says. “Listening to radio drama is very much like reading, but the images are much more accessible to reluctant readers.”

It’s important for children, especially those who find reading to be a bore, to associate this activity with visualization so that the words on a page can come to life in their mind.

“Reading and writing are mutually supportive skills. Students who learn to visualize from the printed word can easily become effective writers,” Kisner explains.

One of the ways Kisner helped reluctant readers when he was in the classroom was by making students aware that books do indeed come to life – in your brain. “They need to see it as a movie. Radio dramas help create images of characters and settings in the mind of a reader.”

Kisner’s company has been successful because read-along radio dramas help students understand that the printed word is like a movie.

Radio dramas don’t require elaborate and expensive sets. Instead, homeschoolers can create and produce their own radio drama either with their siblings or in a larger group setting.

“When students work in a group they are using language to communicate with each other. They are writing a script and they have to listen to one another,” Kisner says, adding, “Writing and producing radio drama can stimulate the student’s imagination and uncover a power long hidden in many students – the urge to create.”

With over 25 affordably-priced radio dramas now available from Balance Publishing, it’s time for your family to turn the television off and create your own show instead.

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