If you’ve ever wondered how to make reading an active pursuit, reader’s theater is a perfect option. A long time staple in classrooms libraries, reader’s theater allows participants to step inside a story, interpret it, and provide an audience with their own vision for the text.
What’s so great about Reader’s Theater?
Reader’s theater brings a text to life. Readers are engaged and thinking about the story, making decisions about what parts are integral to the plot and what parts can be omitted.
No props, costumes or sets are necessary, only a willingness to take on the persona of characters in a chosen story. In this way, participants develop a better understanding of point of view, and they learn to express themes and ideas through tone of voice and body movements.
Participants learn valuable public speaking skills while reinforcing poise and self confidence.
Participants experience literature in a communal setting.
How does reader’s theater work?
To start, choose shorter picture books which are familiar to your readers. Books with humorous plot lines are always a fun choice.
Read through the work together, being sure to use appropriate emotion in order to demonstrate expressive reading techniques.
Talk about what parts of the text should be included and why.
Write a script as a group, then mark the script with highlighters and annotations to indicate emphasis, emotion, movement, etc.
Don’t be surprised if your read-throughs require you to tweak the script.
Present your play for a group of friends or family. It can be as formal or informal as you like.
Need some resources or ideas?
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