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.
|When to use:||Before reading||During reading||After reading|
|How to use:||Individually||With small groups||Whole class setting|
How to use Reader's Theater
- Choose a story that can be divided into parts (such as characters)
Note: Click here for tips on choosing appropriate scripts
- Assign reading parts to each child.
- Ask students to read their scripts orally for practice.
- Have students read assigned parts to the audience.
The following sites contain many examples for using Reader's Theater.
This example demonstrates a Reader's Theater of the book Tacky the Penguin.
The following video clip shows three kids performing part of The Wizard, The Fairy, and The Magic Chicken (script from Timeless Teacher Stuff).
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.
This Reader's Theater example can be used when teaching students about dinosaurs.
Scripts in varying reading levels about America for use with Reader's Theater.
Scripts for Reader's Theaters which teach children health habits, safety, and social skills.
Children's books to use with this strategy
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
Picture book/easy reader/poetry
The short, humorous, rhyming pieces are color coded for reading in tandem, especially good for grades 1-3 though will be enjoyed by younger. This is the first in a series of books intended to be read aloud in pairs (and may also be appropriate for partner reading though may take it in a different direction).
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
Bafile, C. (2005). Reader's Theater: Giving Students a Reason to Read Aloud.
Prescott, J. (2003). The Power of Reader's Theater.