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Reader's Theater

Reader's Theater is a strategy for developing reading fluency. It involves children in oral reading through reading parts in scripts. In using this strategy, students do not need to memorize their part; they need only to reread it several times, thus developing their fluency skills. The best Reader's Theater scripts include lots of dialogue.

Why use Reader's Theater?

  • It promotes fluency.
  • It helps readers learn to read aloud with expression.
  • It helps build reading confidence.

How to use Reader's Theater

  1. Choose a story that can be divided into parts (such as characters)
    Note: Click here for tips on choosing appropriate scripts
  2. Assign reading parts to each child.
  3. Ask students to read their scripts orally for practice.
  4. Have students read assigned parts to the audience.
When to use: Before reading During reading After reading
How to use: Individually With small groups Whole class setting

Examples

Language Arts

The following sites contain many examples for using Reader's Theater.

Timeless Teacher Stuff >

Reading A-Z >

This example demonstrates a Reader's Theater of the book Tacky the Penguin.

See example >

The following video clip shows three kids performing part of The Wizard, The Fairy, and The Magic Chicken (script from Timeless Teacher Stuff).

Math

Teachers can use Reader's Theater as an instructional technique for mathematical word problems.

The following example could be used for a Reader's Theater about 100's day and the concept of 100.

See example >

Science

This Reader's Theater example can be used when teaching students about dinosaurs.

See example >

Social Studies

Scripts in varying reading levels about America for use with Reader's Theater.

See example >

Other

Scripts for Reader's Theaters which teach children health habits, safety, and social skills.

See example >

Differentiated instruction

For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, students with learning disabilities, and younger learners

  • Use easier scripts with fewer words for younger or struggling readers.
  • Write the script (or the student's part of the script) with print that is easy to read i.e. larger or in preferred font. Supply Braille scripts when needed.
  • Give the student their part in advance. Encourage them to practice at home with their parents
  • Have students read parts together.
  • Allow advanced students to write parts of the script.
  • When assigning roles, be sensitive to students' individual needs. Assign roles accordingly; provide extra, individual practice if needed.

See the research that supports this strategy

Children's books to use with this strategy

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

These poems introduce various insects and their lives; ideal for sharing aloud and for relating to informational books on insects.

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together

Rhyming tales written for two voices makes an ideal — and humorous — introduction to readers' theater. Well known fairy tales have been adapted, reorganized and reinvigorated with lively language and sprightly illustrations, worthy of many dramatizations.

Comments

Thanks for suggesting the use of RT in math, too! Cross-curricular... great suggestion.

Our students LOVE reader's theater. they cannot wait to be the next group working on a production. They practice in school and at home. We video tape the productions and share it with students/parents at the end of the year. We also use costumes whenever possible. Students are very engaged and reading fluency & comprehension is increased!

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