Reader's Theatre

Size of group: 3-5

Appropriate grade level: K-3

Skill practiced: Comprehension; Story-telling; Listening skills; Fluency

Materials: Book or story; props or costumes if desired

Category: Children’s tutor tips

Directions:

1.       Introduce the story and talk about any vocabulary the students might need to know.

2.       Read the story aloud to the students.  Model acting to the students; be as dramatic as possible.

3.       Have a comprehension discussion.  You might:

a.       Ask what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story (K-1)

b.      Explore character motivations.  Ask students how a particular character felt in response to the events in the story or why they acted the way they did (K-3).

4.       Go back and assign parts to each student.

5.       Read through the story again using repeated reading, where each student repeats their lines after you and acts them out.

6.       Have another comprehension discussion.  You might:

a.       Ask what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story (K-1)

b.      Have students tell the story in their own words, either with prompting (K-2) or without (2-3). 

c.       Explore character motivations.  Ask students how a particular character felt in response to the events in the story or why they acted the way they did (K-3).

d.      Talk about how the story might have been different if one of the events hadn’t happened or one of the characters had behaved differently.  If the group is willing, explore this more by having students improvise different scenarios.

Variation: Instead of doing repeated reading, have students practice their parts with each other and then come back and perform.  You can do this variation with a larger group of children by dividing them into smaller groups and have each group perform for the whole class.

Assessment: If the lesson is successful, children should demonstrate a deeper understanding of the text in the second comprehension discussion than in the original comprehension discussion.

Tips: Choose a story with enough parts for everyone.  If a student(s) really struggles with fluency, choose them to be the narrator and read their part through with them. 

This website has tips on adapting Reader’s Theatre for ELL students.  Many of the tips are also useful for native English speakers.  http://www.readingrockets.org/article/readers-theater-oral-language-enri...

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