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.
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 at
the same reading level.
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
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
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
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
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
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