Readers’ Theater is a learning strategy that gained popularity in the classroom during the 1990s (though dramatizing stories has been around since long before then!). This strategy helps bring books to life while also developing reading fluency, public speaking skills, confidence, teamwork, and more.
Cara Bafile writes in a Reading Rockets article on the topic, “Its goal is to enhance students’ reading skills and confidence by having them practice reading with a purpose. Readers’ Theater gives students a real reason to read aloud.”
Because it is read out loud, Readers’ Theater can help students cultivate a whole host of skills that will benefit them both in and out of the classroom. Performing a script connects the way a word is read on the page to the way it is pronounced--a skill that even some adults struggle with! As they perform the play, students practice reading with expression, attaching meaning to words and phrases, and they learn how to work with their classmates to bring the story to life.
An added benefit is the opportunity for imaginative play. Readers’ Theater scripts are just one interpretation of a story. Once they get the hang of performing written scripts, students can be challenged to try writing their own scripts! Not only does this further build creativity and important literacy skills, it aids educators in assessing students' reading comprehension and discovering what lessons stick out to them as important.
From a social-emotional perspective, Readers’ Theater can help students empathize with the characters in the story and pick up on more subtle character traits and emotions.
Allow plenty of practice time and assure students they do not need to memorize their scripts. In fact, they shouldn’t as reading is the primary goal of the exercise. In this Reading Rockets article, children's literature consultant, Judy Freeman, recommends performing the script at least twice. "The first time, the children will be struggling with words and their meanings, and with making sense of the play. The second time, they'll be able to focus on enjoying the performance and their parts in it.”
And that's it! Readers' Theater is simple, effective, and easy to adapt for any age.
For more tips on starting your own Readers’ Theater, visit these resources:
If you perform this readers’ theater, let us know in the comments. We’d love to see your interpretation!
*While this script is written for 5 students, it can easily be adapted for fewer numbers. The 2 narrators can be condensed to one and additional characters can be either condensed or multiple characters can be read by one student.
A. Blob is back, and this time it's on a bus! As the slimy bully pokes and pesters the children of Lincoln Elementary School, it seems like they will never be able to ride the bus in peace. That is, until one brave girl takes stand.
Can one act of bravery change everything--including A. Blob? Find out in this second installment of The Blob Series!
Before it was on a bus, A. Blob was on the playground. This first installment of The Blob Series follows the antics of A. Blob, as it wreaks havoc on the elementary school playground with its bullying ways. As the story progresses, however, readers learn that A. Blob may have more than meets the eye.
Along with its powerful illustrations and rhymed verse for early readers, this story invites children to put themselves in the shoes of another and encourages readers to consider why bullies behave the way they do – and start to consider what can be done to help.
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
For some more great reading, check out our latest release, This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. This is A. Blob is a picture book that deals with the sticky issue of bullying through an unlikely character that is a bit sticky itself! As readers follow the antics of A. Blob, they learn to put themselves in the shoes of another and discover there may be more to this bully than meets the eye…
$1.00 is donated to charity for each book sold on this site--half to St. Jude's and the other half to PetFix Northeast Ohio.
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