Able Readers Theater Scripts
How does Readers Theater improve reading ability? First of all, the repeated reading of a script during rehearsals is important in building fluency, or the ability to read text with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Repeated reading also builds confidence and reinforces key concepts and vocabulary related to the topic being studied. The expression, gestures, and interactive nature of the performance make reading a much more enjoyable task and allow even struggling readers to access important information from what might otherwise be difficult text.
able readers theater scripts
Readers Theater scripts are available commercially and online, but it is also possible to create scripts by modifying existing text. This may be done by the teacher in preparation for the activity or by the students themselves. While many existing scripts focus on fictional narratives, Readers Theater can also be quite valuable with nonfiction, such as informational text. Informational text is often more difficult and less engaging than fiction, so the use of dramatic presentation can serve as a powerful motivator and a scaffold for success in reading.
Reader's Theater Scripts can be original scripts or scripts based on leveled books. Use the original scripts or the scripts that accompany a single leveled book when teaching a group of readers with similar targeted needs.
Use the multilevel scripts, which contain parts at three different reading levels to match its partner multilevel book set, when you want a single reader's theater script for a group of varying ability.
You might also consider looking for scripts that are relevant to other material being taught in the classroom. For example, if students are learning about a social studies topic such as the Boston Tea Party, you might be able to find or develop a script that includes relevant vocabulary or historical facts.
The script you select should be well within the achievable reading range for all your students, but may include some more challenging vocabulary words, which the teacher may pre-teach as needed and/or post on a classroom whiteboard or poster for easy reference (Mraz et al., 2013; Carrick). When in doubt, err on the side of a text that will not require students to think too hard about individual words. Short scripts with lots of parts are ideal (Bafile, 2021).
Amber tends to get her scripts from Reader's Theater books or websites. She notes that it can be difficult to find stories with enough parts for all students in a class; while some teachers may choose different stories for different groups of students, Amber uses the same story for the entire class. If only a few roles are available in the story she has chosen, she breaks the class down into separate "casts" so that all students have a part.
Teachers should try to find scripts that represent a variety of cultures, including folk tales that ELLs can relate to. Students may be able to tell the class stories that they grew up with. For example, many cultures have different versions of stories like Cinderella that students will find familiar.
This book by Gerald Lee Ratliff includes background on Reader's Theater, lesson plans, recommended readings, and scripts that can be used in the classroom. The book is available for sale on Amazon.com.
From major topics, such as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, to forgotten tales, like The Scopes Monkey Trial, readers theater can breathe life, laughter, and learning into history or any other subject.
Before you start writing your readers theater script, decide what content you want to cover, what skills you want students to gain, and what your end goals are for the lesson. Then make sure you keep those important pieces throughout your writing.
Here is the Star-Spangled Banner reader's theater script. I do this unit in three to four 30-minute class periods. During the first class, I tell students the story as outlined here. I make it as dramatic and exciting as possible, adding lots of details. At the end of the class, we talk about what happened to the flag after the war and look at pictures of it hanging in the Smithsonian, battle holes still there. During the second class period, I hand out these scripts, and we assign parts and look over the scripts for unfamiliar words that they may need help in pronouncing. We read the script as a performance in the classroom. If there is time, we read it a second time, and this time we spice it up with battle sounds (always lots of volunteers) and use flashlights covered with red and yellow cellophane flashed on the wall to simulate the 'rockets' red glare.' During the third class period, we look at the entire text of the song and discuss the meaning of the words. They are always amazed at how much sense it makes once they know the story. We end the class period by singing all the verses, standing at attention with the flag raised. Depending on the weather, a fourth class period may be used to go outside (or to the gym, I suppose) and measure a 30 X 42 foot rectangle, so that they can see the actual size of the original flag.
This collection of Reader's Theatre scripts allow students to use their vocal expression to help the audience understand the story rather than visual storytelling such as sets, costumes, intricate blocking, and movement. The scripts provide you with information regarding the number of parts available for students and the approximate reading age. Also provided is a script tracker to help you record which scripts have been used by different groups and students. The collection also has an introduction to Reader's Theatre PowerPoint presentation to assist you in implementing this reading strategy into your primary classroom. The scripts have been written to not only allow your students to be able to develop their reading and vocal expression skills, but to also have fun while doing it!
Erin Beers from MrsBeers.com recommends her St. Patrick's Day reader's theater for middle school teachers looking for fun and purposeful March activities. A summary of the unit can be found on her blog at -patricks-day-readers-theater/
Mrs. Beers recommends teachers have their students read scripts independently before reading aloud. This gives them a better feel for the story and their character's role. It is also beneficial for them to be able to see and engage with one another while reading the script together. For more tips on incorporating reader's theater, Mrs. Beers has created a guide at -to-implement-readers-theater/
For older students, there are eight stories in a series called SuperScripts that are written in play format targeting reluctant readers. These scripts are written for third through twelfth-grade students who are reading up to level P. In King Kevin, a character named Josh is a new student in a high school. While a new friend named Michael shows Josh around, they encounter a group of bullies led by Tyrone.
Nearly every theater company in Orange County (and many more in greater Southern California) has devoted time and space to staged readings, either generating programs of its own or hosting troupes dedicated to readers theater.
Few companies, if any, have made it a point to include readers theater performances as part of a regular season schedule and have such a program from year to year. Locally, that changed in 2019 when Newport Theatre Arts Center (NTAC) created a new program designed to fill the summer months and offer patrons something a little different.
Veteran community theater director Sharyn Case relates that starting in the mid-2010s, Brian Page had brought the idea of doing readers theater to her attention, and that the duo kicked around the idea of a possible program for NTAC.
In the 1970s, Schwartz had begun a speech and hearing clinic at Chapman University (then Chapman College). Her dual interests in live theater and the spoken word merged with the concept of readers theater, leading her to create and run Readers Repertory Theatre in the mid-1990s.
Another possibility for a decodable text--which we\u2019ve just learned that Burkins and Yates choose to call Aligned Texts (Shifting the Balance - Nice book!)--is a readers\u2019 theatre script. Here are a few benefits of these scripts: 041b061a72