Reader's Theater



My favorite way to improve my kiddo's fluency? Reader's Theater!

It is so, so fun!

Did you also know there is tons and tons of research articles supporting how beneficial reader's theater is in a classroom? It improves fluency, motivates struggling readers (or any reader really), and really enhances student's voice.

I did my first reader's theater play in college during my final teaching internship with 4th graders. They had to memorize their lines and they performed their black history based play for Martin Luther King's Day... in front of the entire school! I loved how fluent and expressive readers they became, my kids loved all the attention they received; it was a total win-win!

There are a ton of free reader's theater plays out there for intermediate grades online floating around. I recently bought a few 5 Scholastic Reader's Theater books during their dollar deals. Talk about a great deal too since each one was only $1.

You can even differentiate the instruction very easily. Differentiate and easy is hardly ever in the same sentence either! I have beginning reader plays and emergent level plays so I assign student's parts and specific plays to students based on their reading level.

How to implement reader's theater in your classroom?

I do them during my workstations (centers). I have a specific workstation named 'Drama' in which student's can find their play in their groups folder.

I only need 4 folders since I have four guided reading groups. Then each guided reading group is split up into pairs. Pairs of students is so much quieter than groups of 4! In their folder, one side is for one pair and the other side is for the other pair. If that sounds tricky it really isn't, it is super simple I promise! It makes it easy for students to find their plays, easy for me to assign the plays, and easy to practice with students if we practice during guided reading. All I need to do is grab their group's folder.

I assign their plays, they know their parts, they practice repeatedly Monday-Thuesday during workstations. You can have them practice for four days or for just two or for how ever long you want! If you have them practice for four days students can spend time making costumes and props as well attempting to memorize lines too. Whatever you want to do!

Friday is performance day! They perform their play in front of the entire class but you can also invite parents, another class, or anyone else who would want to see. Students love an audience!

You can also set aside time to practice their scripts so everyone is practicing at once. I just can't find the time so during workstations is when it fits in best.

During guided reading one day a week I do read through their plays with my students before they get them so I'm there if they need help with words. I make sure they understand the play and I know they'll be successful when working on it independently.

Of course I'm not an expert, at all, just a teacher who loves reader's theater because of the positive results it's had on my students.

Do you use reader's theater in your classroom? The end of the year is a great time to start. It's when I start to bring it out because the students are just getting a little bit bored so this energizes them right up!

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