Reader's Theater Scripts
Perform without the need for props, costumes, or a set! Reader's Theater Scripts adapted from our leveled books and other sources give students essential practice in oral reading fluency and public speaking. The scripts also provide an opportunity for group interaction and student cooperation.
Why Use Reader's Theater Scripts
- By using Reader's Theater Scripts, you encourage students to read with expression and to practice important fluency attributes, such as pause, inflection, and intonation.
- Taking on character roles helps students understand literary elements, such as motivation and characterization.
- Students also improve listening skills as they follow along silently and listen for spoken cues.
How to Use Readers Theater Scripts
Reader's Theater Scripts can be original scripts or scripts based on leveled books. Use the original scripts or the scripts that accompany a single leveled book when teaching a group of readers with similar targeted needs.
Use the multilevel scripts, which contain parts at three different reading levels to match its partner multilevel book set, when you want a single reader's theater script for a group of varying ability.
Make the performance as simple or elaborate as you wish. Keep in mind that the most important purpose of reader's theater is to teach and practice fluent reading of printed text.
- Be sure to make copies of the scripts for each student. Sharing scripts often leads to confusion and missed cues.
- Have students highlight their lines.
- Pre-teach and review difficult vocabulary.
- Allow students plenty of opportunity to practice fluent delivery of their lines before performing.
- To evenly distribute lines, assign multiple small roles to one student or divide one large role between two or more students.
- Feel free to change character names to accommodate gender.
- Coach readers to occasionally look up from their scripts to make eye contact with the audience or other characters.
- Encourage students to think about expressions and movements their characters might make.
Staging the Play
A few dramatic techniques can add an element of flair and fun to a performance. Use portions of the classroom or the entire classroom as a stage. Students can use the floor, tables, and desk.
- Invite other students, parents, or teachers to be the audience.
- Allow more rehearsal time when applying extra touches, such as costumes or movement.
- Have students practice facial expressions. For example, have students think about how people look and move when they are mad, happy, angry, or nervous.
- If the characters are animals, have students practice animal movements.
- Allow them to create a "voice" for their characters. Let them ham it up and play creatively with the script to increase the entertainment value of the performance.
- Make sure every reader is positioned within view of all members of the audience. Semicircles often work well. Don't allow one reader to block the audience's view of another reader.
- Remind students to look at, talk to, and react to the other readers, or characters. However, the narrator may face and speak to the audience.
Costumes and Props
- The face and head command the most attention, so a hat, mask, or makeup can work as an entire costume.
- Students will have their scripts in hand while performing. Keep this in mind when choosing props; objects that require two hands may not be practical.
- Encourage student imagination as they transform everyday objects into props.