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Reader's Theater: Collaboration, Reading, Thinking, Listening & Speaking

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

This past week I’ve had conversations with 3 different people about reading instruction and each time I leave the discussion with thoughts of Readers Theater.

I love Readers Theater!!

All three conversations…I like to call them ‘healthy discussions’…had me thinking about how appropriate this is for students of ALL ages.

Many teachers would say it’s just for primary students! I strongly and totally disagree!

Readers Theater is a great shared reading tool. Think of all the repeated readings for meaning and rereading for fluency to get the part “just right” and digging deeper into the text meaning to get the speaking part just the way it was intended by the author and let’s not forget just exposure to the study of the structure of the text.

So many benefits! Why wouldn’t every teacher include this in their Shared Reading rotation? Check out this previous blog post Shared Reading: Cocreating Meaning With Our Students.

Readers Theater is a great motivator for students too. My students always looked forward to having a script to work on. Kids of all ages like to perform and those students who don’t like performing have the support of the class because many scripts call for sharing parts.

One of my conversations this past week was about a student who had just graduated from High School and shared with my teaching friend how she still remembers The Preamble to the Constitution. Big surprise…it was one of our Readers Theater selections.

Just imagine…Reading, Social Studies, Listening and Speaking! So much learning in just 10 to 15 minutes each day of Shared Reading throughout one week. That student remembered and still talked about it 6 years later. Now that is impact!

Imagine the memories and impact of the other scripts we did with our students…The Fisherman and His Wife, Crossing Bok Chitto, Chicken Sunday, The Widow’s Broom, just to name a few. There were SO MANY others! Reader’s Theater was in our Shared Reading rotation at least once every 6-7 weeks!

Readers Theater could become a time to take a favorite read aloud and turn it into a script. Sometimes scripts were turned into full-fledged play performances. My teaching team and I always did this at the end of semesters. It gave students something to look forward to and was always a cross curricular project creating the set and the props!!

Other times, Reader’s Theater was a Shared Reading road show. Our last day of Shared Reading was performing for other classes. Taking it on the road, visiting other classes (usually the younger grades) and performing a read through of the script. Listening, Speaking, Reading…aren’t these tasks necessary for success in life?!

Teachers…my challenge to you is…

find a time in your Shared Reading rotation for Reader’s Theater. There are scripts out there. Just search it on Google... I found many online; Teacher stores have books of Reader’s Theater scripts; Favorite read alouds can become a script! The possibilities are endless!

I'm going to leave a few tools for you right here. Check them out.

Until next time...

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