“Readers’ Theatre: More Than a Class
UNI Elementary Literacy Conference
April 15, 2011
Barbara Heitzman, UNI Instructor
“THEATER OF THE MIND”
Readers’ Theatre is an oral interpretive reading using a
Traditional presentations include narrator(s) and
character(s) reading their scripts while standing or sitting.
Music stands may be used to hold the scripts. The goal is
to create the illusion of dramatic action through expressive
use of voice and gestures; making comprehension of the
text meaningful and fun!
CREATIVE DRAMA with READERS’ THEATER
This variation to traditional RT involves narrator and
character voices reading while other participants
pantomime the action. Readers may take more than one
role (multiple casting.) Or, 2 students may share the same
lines speaking together as one voice (double casting.) Set
pieces, props, masks and music or sound effects may be
incorporated. This form has both onstage and offstage
PUPPETRY and READERS’ THEATER
Many of the elements of Creative Drama are used.
Narrators and character voices read from the script while
other participants utilize puppets to act out the story.
Chorus voices may speak or sing words. Sound effects can
be used. Instead of a script, key words may be read or
improvised with the use of pictures that prompt
participants to tell the story. This form has both onstage
and offstage focus.
All forms of Readers’ Theater provide the following
Listening, speaking and reading skills
Writing skills (if a student adaptation of a story is
made into a script)
Cooperation and social skills through ensemble work
Empathy in role-playing different points of view
Expression of feelings and ideas
READERS’ THEATER SKILLS
PROJECTION speaker’s words can be heard
PRONUNCIATION words can be understood
VOCAL EXPRESSION voice shows characters’
feelings, creates a mood,
builds up the story’s climax
READING OF CUES focused and prepared for
speaking, pantomiming, etc.
TIMING/PACING reading is not too fast/too slow
EYE CONTACT eye contact with the audience
and/or fellow readers
GESTURES gestures and movements add to
READERS’ THEATER STAGE DIRECTIONS
FTA…………………. Face the Audience
BTA………………… Back is to the Audience
RRFTA…………….. Rotate Right and Face the Audience
RLBTA ……………. Rotate Left, turn Back to the Audience
( ) …… Suggestion for vocal or facial expression;
gesture, musical sound effects
SOURCES FOR READERS’ THEATRE SCRIPTS
Readers Theatre for Beginning Readers, S.I. Barchers
Readers Theatre Scripted Rhymes and Rhythms, C. Braun, C. & W. Braun
A Readers Theatre Treasury of Stories, C.Braun & W. Braun
Readers Theatre for Young Children, C. Braun & W. Braun
Presenting Readers’ Theatre, C. Feller-Bauer
Frantic Frogs and Other Frankly Fractured Folktales For Readers Theatre, A.D. Fredericks
Social Studies Readers Theatre for Children, M.K. Laughlin & M. LoBerg
Readers Theatre in the Classroom, L. Walker
Readers Theatre in the Middle School and Junior High Classroom, L. Walker
Stories on Stage: Scripts for Reader’s Theater, A. Shephard
Warming up that linguistic intelligence!
Divide students into small groups and provide a list of tongue
Each group chooses one to practice
One by one, students go around their group’s circle and say the
Repeat but say VERY FAST 3x!
Repeat again with an exaggerated emotion (examples: sad,
angry, surprised, scared, confused, happy, etc.)
Each group practices as one choral voice reading their tongue
twister with exaggerated emotion 3x
Groups share their tongue twister with the class
A noisy noise annoys an oyster.
Friendly Frank flips fine flapjacks.
While we were walking, we were watching window washers wash Washington’s
window with warm washing water.
Betty and Bob brought back blue balloons from the big bazaar.
Toy boat. Toy boat. Toy boat.
Fat frogs flying past fast.
Shy Shelly says she shall sew sheets.
The myth of Miss Muffett is moot.
The “sawingest” saw I ever saw was the saw I saw in Arkansas.