Hello! Today I wanted to take some time to discuss what exactly are reader’s theaters and some of the roles that go along with them. Reader’s theaters have evolved and moved from theatre classes and into everyday literacy instruction for young students.
Reader’s theaters are a fun and creative way to get students involved in listening, speaking, and reading! They create not only a fun environment in the classroom but a sense of collaboration and community. Here’s everything you need to know about reader's theater!
Two or more people read a brief piece of writing from a script, assuming the roles of particular characters. So in reader’s theaters, there will always be at least be two characters, but most of the time even more! These students will have their script and their assigned character from that script and will read each part when it's his/her time.
Reader’s theater may be performed in a variety of ways for an audience. You can be as creative as you want with this! The great thing about them is you can go over the top with props and actions, or simply just read the script normally and both ways are still super effective and engaging with the students. Essentially, you can spend one day on a script, or several days planning a more formal presentation.
Reader’s theaters are NOT memorized and don't have to necessarily be acted out. Students don't have to worry about memorizing lines or parts, they simply just read off of a script. The voices are the main focus of the reader’s theater. Actions can enhance a particular meaning but the student's voices reading the scripts carry the most weight.
You can always assign roles earlier and send home scripts. This allows students to really practice their roles and will cause them to really want to bring their best. The more invested the students are, the more exciting and effective the reader’s theater presentation will be.
And lastly, reader’s theaters are fast paced and fun! Your students will love being thrown into these roles and acting out different characters. Other students will enjoy hearing these stories being read to them by fellow classmates! It's great for all students.
So we’ve discussed what reader’s theaters are, now what are some of the roles students will play in them?
The narrator's responsibility is to read the neutral and descriptive parts of the script. The teacher can be the narrator or if you wish. The role of the narrator often has more lines than other roles. Sometimes there are 2 or 3 different narrators to break up the lines.
Characters in the Script:
The next roles to be filled in reader’s theaters are the characters inside the script themselves. The teacher assigns individual students to read specific dialogue from the characters. Students love to read out these characters dialogue and will have fun doing it with their classmates. Most scripts include different levels of difficulty. There can be basic, average, or advanced character roles.
The great thing about readers theatre is that not only will certain students be involved, but the whole class will be apart of them! With group roles, all students can be assigned to read aloud in unison or just the boys/girls can be assigned to one part. This invites the entire classroom to be engaged and bought in, rather than just the main characters.
I hope this has really helped you understand what a reader’s theater is and some of the roles that come along with it. Reader’s theaters are a great and fun way to teach literacy. In my next blog, I'll go over 15 benefits that come from readers theaters. If you would like to see all of my reader's theatre scripts available, you can check those out at readertheater.com
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