Encouraging readers to read text out loud with expression and intonation is an important part of fluency development.
- Choose a script that the group can read independently
- Provide a copy to each reader
- Have readers read through the script silently
- Divide the roles among the group
- Encourage readers to mark their script (highlight or circle their speaking parts)
- Read your script together
Note: Reader's Theatre is a reading strategy and does not require readers to memorize their scripts. Instead reading the script repeatedly will build ease and speed of reading.
Try these tips for teachers new to Reader's Theatre provided by Reading Rockets:
- Choose only scripts that are fun to do with lots of good dialogue. Boring scripts are no better than boring stories.
- Start slowly and spend the time necessary so readers feel comfortable in the performance mode. Provide opportunities for readers to practice. Readers do not memorize their parts; they always read from their scripts.
- A stage is unnecessary. Readers simply stand or sit in a semicircle.
- Model each character's part and match roles to readers.
- Combine parts if there are too many, and cut out scenes and characters that aren't important. Scripts are not sacrosanct. Change them if they work better another way.
- Work with small groups, not with the whole class, whenever possible.
- Provide instructional support for new vocabulary and for understanding the different characters.
The NWT Literacy Council include a great overview of Reader's Theatre in their Family Tutoring resource: