Saturday, February 20, 2016

Why Reader's Theater Works!

Reader's theater is a little like magic!  It can make even the most reluctant readers come alive. What about that student who hates to read orally?  Well, reader's theater can turn them into a real ham.  Actually, if you're looking for a way to get kids to read aloud, improve expression, grow fluency, and just plain have fun reading, you can't do better than reader's theater!

Why does reader's theater work so well?

1. First of all reader's theater is all about active involvement. You can't just sit or stand there letting the rest of the group do the work when you have a script in your hands. Your turn is going to come!

2.  Reader's theater combines practice with performing.  In short, it makes reading practice fun.

3.  Since there is usually very little in the way of props, the impromptu nature of reader's theater makes it seem less intimidating.  Find a spot in the classroom to be the "stage", hand kids the script, assign parts and off you go!

4.  Reader's theater helps to develop a sense of community in the classroom.

5. Reader's theater gives kids a real reason to read. This is particularly important for reluctant readers!

What to do?

a.  Find scripts that gives each speaker a few lines. Avoid scripts that give one or two speakers most of the lines to read. That makes everyone else wait too long to read.  Find good scripts that are fun to do. A boring script is no better than a boring book.

b.  Allow students to practice their parts so they feel comfortable. This is not memorization, just practice getting the words right.

c.  Encourage students to act out the part

d. Give kids the opportunity to love the story. Allow them to act it out many times. Too often our students are assigned a story, then move on to the next. With reader's theater, they live the story. Every time they act it out, they get more reading practice. Rereading is key to reading fluency!

e. Always go through the script at least twice. The first time there will be mistakes. Explain that the first reading is like rehearsal.  Mistakes? No biggie!

f.  Reader's theater works best in small groups. It's less intimidating. If the group gets really good, and wants to preform for the class, that's great.

g. When you first start reader's theater, be sure to find short, easy scripts with high interest. The first time can be a bit intimidating. Make it fun by making it easy.

With about some great FREE links to reader's theater scripts! Enjoy!!

1. Education World  Scroll down the page to find a list of LOTS of script links that include new takes on old tales, holidays and many more.

2. Dr. Chase Young  TONS of scripts in alphabetical order with the number of parts in parenthesis.

3.  Reader's Theater Scripts and Plays  Lots and lots of great storys, includes a section on tips, evaluation and more.

4.  Reader's Theater Editions  Each scripts gives a short synopsis, the number of readers, age, and approximate length of time to do. There are special features available for some scripts that include color posters, and more. Most scripts are based on books or traditional stories.

5. Readeer's Theater  This site has information on how to do reader's theater with lots of great helpful tips, then goes into great readers theater scripts, most based on books.

6. Whootie Owl's Reader's Theatre Scripts  This site gives the number of roles. I like it because all of the scripts are classic stories/folktales from other countries.

7. Zoom Playhouse  This site has some great scripts, to get the printable version look on the upper left hand side.

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