Introduction to Drama: Reader’s Theater

Reader's Theater

What’s Reader’s Theater?

Readers Theater is a dramatic presentation of a written work in a script form.  Readers read from a “script” and reading parts are divided among the readers. No memorization, costumes, blocking, or special lighting is needed.  Scripts are held by the readers. Lines are not memorized. The focus is on reading the text with expressive voices and gestures. Making comprehending the text meaningful and fun for the student.

 It’s a way to involve students in reading aloud. Reader’s theater is a strategy that combines reading practice and performing. Its goal is to enhance students’ reading skills and confidence by having them practice reading with a purpose. Reader’s theater gives students a real reason to read aloud.

Follow these recomendations when starting using reader’s theaters:

  • Choose only scripts that are fun to do with lots of good dialogue.
  • Start slowly and spend the time necessary so students feel comfortable in the performance mode.
  • Provide opportunities for students to practice.
  • Students do not memorize their parts; they always read from their scripts.
  • A stage is unnecessary. Students simply stand or sit in a semicircle.
  • Model each character’s part and match roles to readers.
  • Combine parts if there are too many, and cut out scenes and characters that aren’t important.
  • Scripts are not sacrosanct. Change them if they work better another way.
  • Work with small groups, not with the whole class, whenever possible.
  • Provide instructional support for new vocabulary and for understanding the different characters.

Follow these recommendation when choosing a script:

  • Begin with very easy scripts. It is important at the start that students do not have to think about how to read the words.
  • Select scripts that involve many readers.
  • Short scripts are best in the beginning.
  • Provide each reader with a separate script, highlighting his or her part with yellow (or another appropriate color).
  • Give the readers the opportunity to read the script to themselves silently, and to read their parts to themselves aloud.

The benefits of Reading Theater are the following:

  • develop fluency through repeated exposure to text.
  • increase comprehension.
  • integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening in an authentic context.
  • engage students.
  • increase reading motivation.
  • create confidence and improve the self-image of students.
  • provide a real purpose for reading.
  • provide opportunities for cooperative learning.

Reader’s Theater examples 

This is an easy script about a story that everyone knows

The Three Little Pigs

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