By: Brittany Donaldson
What Is Readers’ Theater?
• Program that promotes literacy.
• Benefits all but mostly struggling readers and
children who are English language learners.
• Specific goal is to help children become fluent
• Designed to help children use all three cueing systems
while reading. (i.e. comprehension, graphophonetical
• Mostly focuses on comprehension, vocabulary, and word
Process of Readers Theater
• In Readers Theater, a group of children are
given leveled scripts that they must read
repeatedly in order to gain an understanding
• Then, they present their scripts to the other
students in the classroom as a sort of “mini-
play.” However, it is important to understand that
the presentations are not plays themselves.
• The hope is that the children will be so anxious
to perform in front of their peers, that through
repeated practice, they will try hard to learn their
History of Reader’s Theater
• Originally developed for college students
taking a literature course. It was used to
• Educators and Specialist saw the program
as very successful and tried to integrate it
in High School, Junior High, Elementary,
and most recently Early Education.
• Today, it has a wide following and the
numbers suggest that it works well with all
ages, grade levels and abilities.
What is Fluency?
• According to Casey and Chamberlin,
Fluency is defined as the smoothness,
accuracy, rate, and efficacy of reading.
• An element of fluency is prosody which is
defined as the phrasing, intonation, pitch.
• These two areas combined help children
to read accuratly and with style.
Why Readers Theater Works so
• Addresses many types of intelligence and
learning styles at once.
• Gives something that children can relate
well to and gives them accountabilit.
• Promotes a fun way to learn literacy.
• Integrates art, imagination and creativity
• Gives children some freedom.
Readers Theater vs Plays
• Done regularly • Done once or twice a
• Small Audiences year.
• Uses no props, • Large Audiences
costumes, sets • Uses many props,
• Used mostly for academic costumes, and elaborate
purposes focusing on sets.
specific content areas. • Meant for entertainment
• Think play rehersal purposes only and can
integrate other mediums
of artistic expression.
• Think opening night.
Variations of Readers Theater
• Ways that it can be done and for who
• Other content areas
• Where you see success
Readers Theater Example: Pre
Day-1 and Day 1: Chamberlin and
• Pre-Day 1
• Teacher and/or students select story.
• Teacher and/or students prepare or write script.
• Day 1
• Teacher reads aloud the story.
Students read script independently, in small
groups, or as a whole class multiple times.
• Teacher and students discuss story.
• Students take home unmarked scripts for
Day Two,Three and Four
• Day 2, 3, and 4
• Students practice script in small and large
• groups, taking turns with different parts until later
• in the week when permanent parts are chosen.
• Students give each other compliments and
• Teachers provide mini-lessons or coaching
that explicitly teaches an aspect of fluency or
• Students highlight parts for specific characters.
• Students select permanent parts.
• Students take highlighted scripts home for
• Day 5
• Options in a 5-Day Plan for
• Readers Theater can be very useful in
classroom management in many ways:
• Mini- Lessons : prepared in advanced and
address a specific area were children are
• Guided Reading
• Read Alouds
• Write Alouds
• Interactive and Independent Writing
• Write your own
• Use a book from Read- Alouds
• Leveled Readers
• Leveled Scripts (would have to purchase them)
• Big Books
• Around the Water Cycle from www.teachingheart.net/
• “Boa Constrictor” from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel
• Silverstein, 1974
• Chicken Little retold by Jenny Giles (Rigby, 1997)
• The Christmas Santa Almost Missed by Marian Frances
• (Troll, 1970)
• CLICK, CLACK, MOO: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin,
• “Code” from Lunch Money and Other Poems about School
• by Carol Diggory Shields, 1995
• “The Crocodile’s Toothache” from Where the Sidewalk
• Ends by Shel Silverstein, 1974
• Don’t Let Ted Have BUBBLE GUM! by Phyllis Sibbing, 1999
• “A Faster Fox” from Fox Outfoxed by Edward Marshall,
Free Scripts: Internet
Ways to be Creative
• Use Holiday Themes
• Integrate Multicultural themes
• Social Issues
• World Issues
• Fairy Tales
• Tall Tales
• Anything you want, be creative
What Researchers are Saying
• Improves fluency
• Helps ELL students
• Combines Multiple Intelligence Theories
• Helps in Special Education
• Builds Character and self esteem
• More Parental Involvement
• There are many ways that you can do
phase three work with students in readers
• Guided reading
Example of Readers Theater In