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Opera Time

Inspiring early readers: Pre-K through 2nd Grade and English Language Learners

13 Words Electric ears Friend Whale My Many Colored Days Old Black Fly Zero

Big stories happen in small moments! This 30-minute program, delivered to your classroom by a teaching-artist, includes singing, read-aloud story time, movement, and elements of theater.

For a deeper exploration we offer multi-visit residencies and can adapt the program to suit any timeframe, including afterschool and all-day programs. We take requests for birthday parties too!

Learning goals

  • Explore and contextualize new vocabulary
  • Build phonemic awareness
  • Expand small moments into big stories using song, dance, visual art and drama
  • Develop critical thinking skills

Cost: Each presentation $40 (up to 25 students)
Customized residencies and birthday parties: call for pricing
(Mileage charges may apply)

Alignment: Reading and Writing EALRs, Language Arts Common Core Standards, and Arts Learning Standards

Contact: Mark Allwein at 206-676-5566 or

View Opera Time Brochure (PDF)

Order Form

Choose a Book

13 Words

Ideal for K – 2nd grade | Written by Lemony Snicket & Illustrated by Maira Kalman

With sophisticated vocabulary appropriately adapted for the young reader, Lemony Snicket uses repetition and context to introduce children to a new world of words. Themes: Building Vocabulary and Self Expression

Ellwsorth’s Extraordinary Electric Ears

Ideal for grades 1 – 2 | Written & Illustrated by Valorie Fisher

Explore an abundance of amazing alphabet alcoves—where every page is a alphabet world of its own, leading the reader on 26 travels from A to Z. Themes: Building Vocabulary and Phonemic Awareness

My Friend Whale

Ideal for PreK – 2nd grade | Written and illustrated by Simon James

A touching children's story that portrays the reality of disappearing and endangered species appropriately presented to young readers. With whimsical watercolors and expressive language, Simon James weaves factual traits of the blue whale into the development of a tender relationship between a young boy and his whale friend. But how does the little boy feel when his friend doesn't return one night?
Themes: Conservation, Separation, Diversity and Friendship

My Many Colored Days

Ideal for PreK – 2nd grade | Written by Dr. Seuss, Paintings by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

In this book, Dr. Seuss brilliantly uses colors to describe a spectrum of emotions. In his familiar rhyming meter, the text uses alliteration to paint the words as strikingly as the colorful images do.
Themes: Colors, Feelings, Phonemic Awareness and Self Expression

Old Black Fly

Ideal for PreK – 1st grade | Written by Jim Aylesworth & Illustrated by Stephen Gammell

There is a mischievous fly in the house causing all sorts of trouble! A clever alphabet book with colorful, action-packed illustrations.
Themes: Phonemic Awareness and Rhyming


Ideal for K – 2nd grade | Written & Illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi

Zero sees the other numbers having fun, but Zero looks at herself and sees only emptiness inside. She wants to be like the other numbers who are so shapely. So she tries and tries, with no success, to change what she looks like. She is what she is: she is Zero. But one day, she discovers that Zero isn't nothing, she is something—and something very special indeed!
Themes: Self Esteem, Counting, Number Places and Friendship

Common Core Alignment

The Opera Time program is designed to enrich the classroom literacy curriculum, aligning with the following Common Core Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.4: Describe how words and phrases supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.5: Describe the overall structure of a story, including how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.6: Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3: How a character responds to important events.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.3: Using language conventions correctly when speaking and writing.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade-level reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

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Opera Time is supported in part by Ireene S. Barnett Foundation, The Clowes Fund Inc., Fales Foundation, H. David Kaplan, Perry Lorenzo Fund for In-School Education, Peach Foundation, Stanley M. Pier Endowed Fund, SAFECO Insurance Foundation, and U.S. Bancorp Foundation.

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Photo Credit

© Alan Alabastro