|Reader's Theater Tips
Reading A-Z's Reader's Theater scripts provide simple, leveled play scripts that students can perform in the classroom without the need for props, costumes, or a set. Reading scripts aloud gives students essential practice in oral reading fluency. Teachers can monitor students' oral fluency as well as their ability to follow along silently and listen to spoken cues as other students read. The scripts also give students practice in public speaking, and they provide a great opportunity for group interaction and student cooperation. Reader's theater offers an easy and dynamic way to practice reading.
According to research, reader's theater scripts are an excellent way to promote fluency. 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. Reader's theater scripts also promote listening skills as students follow along silently and listen for spoken cues. The scripts provide a great opportunity for student cooperation, and they're a fun break from the usual reading routine.
Using the Scripts
You will need enough copies of the script for all students. Sharing scripts often leads to confusion and missed cues. Have students highlight their lines. It is also a good idea to review and pre-teach difficult vocabulary. Allow students plenty of opportunity to practice fluent delivery of their lines before performing a reader's theater. A quick check of each student's reading will help you know when the cast is ready. Coach readers to occasionally look up from their scripts and to make frequent eye contact with the audience and other characters/readers as they read their lines.
It is always a good idea to allow more rehearsal time when applying extra touches such as costumes or movement.
Due to the nature of character roles in the scripts, some roles will be larger than others. To evenly distribute lines, you may want to 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.
Staging the Play
You can use portions of the classroom or the entire classroom as a stage. Students can use the floor, tables, and desks. Make sure that students are careful and safe.
Use these simple tips to keep the performance smooth and entertaining.
Extras: Costumes and Props
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.