Using Readers’ Theater in the Classroom

You and your students are bound to love Readers’ Theater! 

Readers’ Theater (also spelled “Reader’s Theatre” or “Readers Theater”) is an activity in which students, while reading directly from scripts, are able to tell a story in a most entertaining form, without props, costumes, or sets. This is a reading activity, and students are not asked to memorize their lines. They are, however, encouraged to “ham it up” and use intonation and gestures appropriate to their characters and their characters’ words.

Readers’ Theater serves many useful functions:

·         It provides repeated reading practice—an important factor in building fluency. Repeated reading practice also improves students’ confidence in, and enthusiasm for reading. It’s an enjoyable change of pace from everyday practice sessions. My students love it! And so do we. Students are so thrilled at their newfound skill that they ask to perform for younger classes.

·         It’s a wonderful opportunity for children who are used to feelings of failure to provide expertise entertainment for others.

·         Readers’ Theater scripts cover many different subjects across the curriculum making them versatile.

The Internet is a terrific source of entertaining scripts–and they’re often free! The ready availability of online resources allows for easy editing and personalization of individual scripts. I simply copy the script to my word processing program, adapt the script to my students’ needs, and print it up! (Of course, most scripts available online are intended only for educational, not commercial, use.)

Don’t be intimidated by the performance aspect. It’s all the excitement of a play without the pressure and responsibility. The students have fun, you have fun, the audience (if you choose to perform for one) will have a great time, and everyone learns!

We offer a nice selection of scripts for all different subjects on our sister site,