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What a pleasure it was to discover a series totally devoted to the EFL/ESL teacher who may already understand the value of teaching through Drama, or who would like to try this approach for the first time in the classroom” —Charlyn Wessels Dyers, Author of Drama in the Oxford Resource Series for Teachers

A wealth of preparatory activities, suggestions for varied ways of using the text and helpful suggestions for follow-up. What are we waiting for? The play’s the thing . . .“—Alan Maley

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Winner, 2019 Writing Award, Lone Star College

Rising Water is an English language textbook that teaches spoken communication skills through the performance of an engaging and compelling one-act play. This action-packed original play is about a rebellious teenager who finds himself in the middle of a flooded city!

Whether it’s reader’s theater, an in-class performance, or a full production, putting on a play is the ultimate group project.

And drama is a powerful tool for learning spoken communication skills! Students take on acting skills like using body language, gesture, intonation, and other non-verbal cues to communicate better. They are exposed to natural language in a realistic setting. And they are motivated and engaged!

A range of activities prepare students to perform as they practice language skills:

  • Background readings on topics raised by the play: how cities are fighting climate change and responding to natural threats, the unsung heroes of Hurricane Harvey, and why teenagers love risk!
  • An original one-act play written for ELLs about a typical teenager who just can’t seem to get it together. When his city is hit by a flood though, his conservative parents and overachieving friends are helpless! Ajax’s recklessness may the only thing that can save the day
  • Pragmatics lesson on asking for help and recognizing sincere vs. insincere offers
  • Drama games about speaking with emotion and using emphasis to make meaning.
  • Scaffolding to prepare students to produce a play including
    • Lessons on attentive listening
    • Guided questions to analyze the play
    • Ideas for auditioning, learning a part, and marking scripts for emotional content to improve line readings.
    • Tips for staging a play
  • Post-Performance Activities, including a talkback, a mini-debate, writing a new scene or even a sequel or mining the play for useful language
  • An optional assignment to host a panel discussion about how to best prepare teenagers for the future.
  • Assessment rubrics and an answer key

Your students will look forward to class with this innovative resource that utilizes drama in language teaching! The play’s the thing!

Preview Rising Water

Buy the full uninterrupted audio performance to download.

Find more books in the Integrated Skills Through Drama series and browse all our resources for doing drama with students.

Additional information

Weight 11 oz
Dimensions 11 × 8.5 × .25 in




Publication Date

13 July 2018




8.5 x 11 inches


100 pages



Age Group

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Here are some free downloadable resources you can use with the book. Have you come up with your own great idea for an activity that works with Rising WaterSend it to us. If we use it, we’ll send you a discount coupon good for any of our titles.

Take a look at the Table of Contents and a Sample of Rising Water.

Extension Ideas

  • How to Organize a Mini-Debate One of the suggestions for post-performance activities in the book is a mini-debate. It’s a great way to have students grapple with the theme of the play, work with language, and practice the pragmatics of persuasion. Suggested topics for Only the Best Intentions include:
    Is addiction to screens a serious problem or not?
    Children should learn to use technology because technology is the future.
    Agree or Disagree: Schools should ban phones, tablets, and other devices.
    Agree or Disagree: Esports are not real sports.
  • How to Do Readers Theater  Reader’s Theater is a great way to practice pronunciation and pragmatics with a minimum of preparation. Students can also being analyzing the script and rehearse for a full-production. Here’s some things to take into consideration as you do Reader’s Theater in class.

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4 Replies to “Rising Water”

  1. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    A step-by-step guide to help students communicate more effectively through a one-act play.

    I was expecting the entire book to be the script for a play, but it’s only a very small section of the book. The book is a How to Guide for any teacher wanting to put on a play. It’s complete with stage direction and advice to adapt or add to the play. While this is geared for the non-native speaker to learn all the nuances of communicating effectively in English, I can see any high school English / Drama teacher using it as a teaching guide. The play itself is a real page turner. It’s compelling, dramatic and gives a true-to-life scenario that most anyone can relate to. Beyond that there are the several pages of suggestions about how to get students to discuss pragmatics: the skill of communicating appropriately through language and gestures. If you want one book to use your entire semester, this is the book to get. The writer, Alice Savage, obviously has had a lot of hands on teaching experience as proven by her multiple suggestions about how to capture the teenage and young adult imagination. I highly recommend this book.

  2. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    A one act play with guided lessons on building students’ communication skills
    Rising Water is an incredibly useful tool for teachers and students alike to explore theater and build English language skills. Alice Savage provides an extensive teaching guide to go along with the one act play. Her clear and concise writing make it easy for even a novice teacher to use drama as an effective way to teach pragmatics, conversation and build vocabulary. This guide is full of activities and tips to assist a class in exploring the English Language as well as showcasing a play. Being from Houston, I love that Rising Water takes place in a city that is in the middle of a flooding event. It is especially timely now as we are at the one year anniversary of Harvey in which Houston experienced the worst flooding of it’s history. I highly recommend this play and the rest of the series Integrated Skills Through Drama.

  3. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    An engaging lesson in pragmatics
    Rising Water is a one act play that is accompanied by excellent instruction on how to teach pragmatics to ESL students. The play is short and engaging. My students have found the topic to be relevant having experienced a hurricane and flood in our city last year. I especially like the versatility of using a play in my ESL class. I’ve used it to develop reading, speaking and pronunciation skills. The students like that it’s something different than just an article in a textbook.

  4. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    A great way to get reluctant students up and using English.
    Rising Water helped transform some of my shy students into bold performers. Used with my foundation students this semester, the text was interesting and motivating. It fit perfectly into a unit on the environment. Although initially reluctant to act, my students LOVED it and are now begging me to do another play.
    Well-done Alice Savage.

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