Dr. Tim Rasinski on Implementing Reader’s Theater

Comments from the desk of Dr. Tim Rasinski
Professor of Reading at Kent State University
Reader’s Theater

Reader’s Theater is an authentic and entertaining activity that helps students improve their word recognition, fluency, and comprehension. It requires no props, costumes, or scenery unless the teacher and students want to include them.   Reader’s Theater is an oral activity in which students read scripts or stories (after practicing reading their particular part and gaining assistance as necessary with vocabulary, phrasing, expressiveness, etc.)  Each student takes the part of one of the characters or narrator.  There is no need for an actual production of a play or theatrical event although props may be used. The goal of this strategy is to help students with their fluency and comprehension by allowing them rehearsal time to practice reading with expression and prosody, the opportunity to read and reread for meaning, and the ability to focus on word meanings.

Although you may want to find out more details from my book or other sources on reader’s theater, he’s how it works in a nutshell:

Reader’s Theater: A Quick Guide

  • Before the week begins, choose a script or prepare one based on a text. Make copies for the group, two for each member.
  • On Monday, discuss the purpose and procedures for Reader’s Theater with the class/group. Assign students parts by having them volunteer or audition. Practice needs to be done aloud and also silently.
  • On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, have students practice their parts in class, on their own, in their groups and at home. This activity can also been done during center time or as part of an anchor activity.
  • Friday is performance day. Students can read/perform their scripts for an audience of classmates, parents, or even the principal. Remember, this is not a performance based on memorization. They are reading the script they have practiced over the week.

My website contains a resource list of ready-made scripts (many of them free) for use in the classroom or even at home (http://www.timrasinski.com/presentations/readers_theater_sources.pdf).

See Dr. Rasinski’s comments on
Building Fluency with Tape-Assisted Reading