The actors and actresses walked onto the “stage”. They glanced at their waiting audience. The first actor took a deep breath and delivered his first line. Sound like a description of a broadway stage? Or a community theater performance? Guess what, it is describing what happens in a classroom that rocks reader’s theater. Teachers can use this reading strategy to engage students of all ages, and work on their fluency. Read on to learn few ways to implement reader’s theater in the classroom. Distance learning? Don’t worry! You can implement this strategy virtually! Need scripts? In addition to the resources/ideas listed below, do a quick internet search for reader’s theater scripts. There are SO many resources!
Reader’s Theater for Fluency Practice
Fluency. A definite buzzword in the world of education! Fluency is defined as “the ability to read with speed, accuracy and proper expression”. Teachers employ the use of a wide variety of materials to help students develop fluency. These could be reading passages, games, small group instruction or timings. Whatever you use, keep doing it! Consider adding reader’s theater to the mix! This engaging strategy can help with fluency in the following ways:
- Repeated readings-helps with word familiarity
- May introduce readers to new words AND help them become more familiar with commonly used words
- Practice using expression-this is the easiest thing to practice with reader’s theater!
Expression & Comprehension
What better way to understand what you are reading than by reading it with the right expression? Using expression means the reader understands how the character is feeling. All teachers know that comprehension is the big picture of reading. We want our students to read to understand, learn, remember and enjoy. Working on expression will aid in students’ progress towards this goal. How to work on expression using reader’s theater? Assign students parts (if you have scripts. After they’ve learned their “lines” ask them how they would say the lines if they were in the story. After they have practiced it several times, have them perform for an audience. The audience can simply be the teacher, another small group of students OR other classes. There are so many possibilities with reader’s theater!
Don’t have access to scripts? Never fear!
Not able to access any reader’s theater scripts OR not liking any you find? Bring this fun strategy to your classroom using the following ideas:
Turn a Picture Book into a Reader’s Theater Performance
Use a favorite picture book and assign students as characters from the story. They can help you read the book projected, or in small groups, using the right expression for the “scene”. Additional Note: have your students write down their lines in their notebook to practice. Trouble deciding which book to use? Here are some recommendations!
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SEL Skills: Chrysanthemum
For pre readers: many characters are animals! Little Blue Truck
Need lots of characters? A Bad Case of Stripes
Use a Reading Passage
Using reading passages is a very convenient way to incorporate theater into your classroom. It is important to select a passage in which emotions are obvious. Might we suggest our Growth Mindset Passages? Each of these passages involves a child that is placed in a situation that evokes emotions. Your students can read this in pairs, using the correct expression for the situation. Then, after they write what should happen next, they can act that part out for the class! Get more information on these passages HERE.
Have Students Write their Own Dialogue to Perform
Need to incorporate some personal narrative or fiction writing? Students can describe an even that happened to them OR make one up. They will write a short summary on this event and read it aloud, with appropriate expression to the class. Some students may even want to act it out!
Learning virtually? Here are a few options to incorporate Reader’s Theater:
- Read your resource in a 1-on-1 virtual meet with a student
- Have students pair up and work on it in a small group virtual meet
- Students can perform for their peers in a whole class virtual meet
- Last spring, some teachers even implemented a class play virtually! Scripts were sent to parents with a child’s part assigned. Each family recorded their students lines and e-mailed to the teacher. The teacher then edited it into a class iMovie. (Which was then sent out the families.) Students LOVED this!
The possibilities are ENDLESS! Have more ideas to share? Head on over to our Facebook Group, Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers! You will be inspired!
Remember, together we are better!