Showtime for CPS Readers: MAGIC TREE HOUSE

This Spring, All 60,000 CPS 2nd and 3rd Graders Received: 

A free Magic Tree House book
A free recorded performance of Magic Tree House: Showtime with Shakespeare
A free extended Magic Tree House study guide 
Seven winning classrooms received a free 8-week drama residency

Books have been shipped to all CPS elementary schools. The recorded performance is available through March 23.
Please register to receive the viewing link.



About Showtime for CPS Readers: Magic Tree House

In a remarkable effort to improve the reading skills of CPS students, Emerald City Theatre joined forces with Mary Pope Osborne, author of the award-winning Magic Tree House book series, to provide an opportunity for all 60,000 CPS 2nd and 3rd graders. This spring, students received: 

  • A free copy of Magic Tree House Book #25: Stage Fright on a Summer Night
  • A free recorded performance of Emerald City Theatre’s Magic Tree House: Showtime with Shakespeare 
  • A free extended Magic Tree House study guide with Common Core connected activities related to the book and play 
  • Seven winning classrooms received an eight-week in-school drama residency and field trip to Magic Tree House: Showtime with Shakespeare

See Mary Pope Osborne’s message to CPS students here

Download the expanded Magic Tree House study guide


Why this project? 

  • Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. (UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization)
  • There is a childhood literacy crisis that must be addressed:
    • 1 in 6 children who don’t read proficiently by 3rd grade fails to graduate on time. (The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading)
    • 61% of low-income households do not own any children’s books.
    • 50% of CPS 3rd graders are not reading at grade level. 
  • Theater can inspire young readers. A recent Emerald City Theatre survey of One Fund-winning teachers found that: 
    • 79% said the theater experience inspired their students to read more
    • 72% said seeing the play gave their students a better understanding of the book
  • Using Jack and Annie’s adventures, Mary Pope Osborne’s mission is to inspire children to develop a lifelong passion for reading and has donated over a half million books. 


Director & Choreographer Jamal Howard talks with Ana Belaval on WGN’s Around Town

Executive Director Karen Cardarelli and Director & Choreographer Jamal Howard chat about the project with Fox32’s Sally Schulze

See photos from the announcement event at Newton Bateman Elementary School here

See photos from the first book delivery at Skinner West Elementary School here


Residency Winners

ECT is pleased to announce the winning classrooms for the Magic Tree House in-school drama residencies and field trips to Magic Tree House: Showtime with Shakespeare

  • John C. Haines Elementary School, Jenny Ma, Chinatown
  • Hannah G. Solomon Elementary School, Alena McCarthy, Pulaski Park
  • McAuliffe Elementary School, Jamie Williamson, Logan Square
  • Sabin Dual Language Magnet School, Jason Sitko, Wicker Park
  • Frank L. Gillespie Elementary School, Kelly Loconte, West Chesterfield
  • Mount Vernon Elementary School, Chelita O’Neal, Washington Heights
  • Daniel R. Cameron Elementary School, Erica Rodriguez, Humboldt Park

Sponsors & Partners

Thank You to Our Sponsors and Partners

Lead Sponsors
Mary Pope Osborne, KPMG – Family for Literacy

Lead Partners
Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Literacy Alliance, First Book, Meeting Tomorrow, Random House Children’s Books

Program Sponsors
The Book Family, Glen Tullman Family Foundation, Jack and Jill of America – North Shore Chapter, Jack Ringer Family Foundation, Jet Support Services, Inc., The Lawler Family, Livongo, David May & Lois Scott, Sharon & Tom Shumaker Charitable Foundation, The Sidley Austin Foundation, The Spahn Family, Sarah Walker