Readers Theater

Reader's Theater Article: Using Readers Theatre for Kids in the Classroom

Reader theater is minimal theater in support of literature and reading.
There are many styles of reader's theater, but nearly all share these traits:

  • No full memorization. Readers theater cripts are held during performance.
  • No full costume. If used at all, costumes are partial and suggestive, or neutral and uniform.
  • No full stage sets. If used at all, sets are simple and suggestive.
  • Readers theater narration provides the framework for dramatic action.

Reader's theater was developed as a convenient and effective means to present literary works for children in dramatic form. Originally popular on college campuses, reader's theater has now moved to the elementary and middle school grades, where it is

seen as a key tool for creating interest in reading. Kids love to do it, and they give it their all -- more so because it's a team effort, and they don't want to let down their friends! And if the readers theater script is based on an available book, they of course want to read it. What's more, reader's theater is a simple activity for the teacher, since it requires no setup apart from the reproduction of scripts.

Reader's theater has been found effective not only for language arts but for social studies as well. Performing multicultural literature is one of the best ways for students to become interested in and familiar with other cultures.

This information comes from Aaron Shepard's resources for reader's theatre. His site includes some wonderful free readers theater scripts.

Readders Theatre Books by Aaron Shepard:

Lois Walker is a teacher who has a strong interest in readers theatre for children. Her site has some wonderful scripts and also provides additional information on readers theatre.

Readers Theater as a viable theater form and a powerful education and training tool. To join others in discussing the experience and exploring the possibilities, send a blank email to: [email protected]

Further information on reader theater workshops and books can be found at the following web site.

This is the download page for the free reader theatre "RT Script Pack," a set of reader's theater scripts in Microsoft Word format.

I ran across some of Aaron Shepard's readers theatre material toward the end of the 1997 - 1998 school year. My students really enjoyed the scripts and we talked about how they could turn other fables and stories into scripts but we did not have the time to take that next step. We are both looking forward to doing more with readers theatre this school. If you have used readers theatre in the classroom we'd love to hear from you.

Learning with Readers Theatre is an excellent introductory book that provides strategies, organizers, and scripts that can be used as is or as model's for readers' own scripts. It is a GREAT book for someone getting started with readers theatre.

Internet School Library Media Center (ISLMC) :This site has a wonderful selection on of links related to Storytelling, Drama, Creative Dramatics, Puppetry & Readers Theater for Children & Young Adults.

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