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Readers Theater is an extremely effective and popular strategy for fluency practice. With this strategy, students are assigned a character in a script and read the play aloud. Students get to practice reading fluently in an authentic manner. But there are so many other skills you can teach using Readers Theater! Read on to find 5 simple Readers Theater ideas that go beyond fluency practice.

If you’re interested in learning more about strategies for teaching fluency skills, such as Readers Theater, check out my 4 part Fluency series!

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5 Alternative Readers Theater Ideas

These alternative ways of using Readers Theater develop students’ overall reading ability. Plus by digging deeper into the Readers Theaters scripts with these strategies, it will lead to a more expressive and fluent final performance of the script!

Identify Setting

Have students look through the script to identify the parts of the story which refer to the setting. Reread those parts and write down adjectives used to describe the setting. Discuss word choice and determine where the story takes place. Students can then use Google images to find photos that best match the descriptions. This leads to rich discussions about which picture is best based on text evidence! The photos can be added to a green screen app or displayed on your Smartboard behind students as they perform. It builds student engagement by bringing the stories to life!

Students can use readers theater to identify the setting of the story.

Vocabulary Development

Students may be unfamiliar with some of the words in the Readers Theater scripts. This is a perfect opportunity to practice using context clues to determine the meaning of those words. Students may also find words that are hard for them to pronounce. Rather than making them stumble over the words during their performance, you can help them use context clues to find synonyms that are easier for them to accurately read.

Students can use Readers Theater to use context clues to improve vocabulary.

You can replace any of these difficult words by writing the easier word directly on the script or on a post-it note over the challenging word. This allows students to feel more confident about their ability to read the text fluently as they perform for their peers.

Comprehension Skills

Readers Theater is a great opportunity for students to work on a variety of comprehension skills. Students may practice making inferences about the characters, settings, and events. Readers Theater scripts are also ideal for working on the moral and theme of a story. Students tend to find it easier to identify the moral in these texts because they are more personally invested in the story. They take on the role of their character which naturally deepens their overall comprehension.

Character Analysis

Readers Theater is the perfect tool to use for character analysis. Work with students to identify character traits and provide text evidence to support their inferences. Help students make inferences about how their character must be feeling in the story. Encourage students to draw faces in the margins or on post-it notes to show how their character is feeling. It’s a perfect visual reminder to add appropriate expression when performing the script!

Readers theater can be used to work on character analysis.

Writing Practice

There are many opportunities to use Readers Theater for writing practice. Allow students to rewrite some of their lines or change the ending. In fact, you may even want to have your students write an entire script themselves!

Students can respond to a variety of prompts about the story, such as:

  • Which character would you like to have as a friend? Why?
  • How did the character change throughout the story?
  • What lesson did the character(s) learn?
  • How might the story change if it took place in a different setting?
  • Which character is most like you? How?
  • What do you think happened after the story ended?

Ideas for Implementation

Now that you have Readers Theater ideas that go beyond fluency practice, how should you get started using them?

There’s a wealth of Readers Theater scripts available online. A simple Google search will reveal multiple results. If your school has a Reading A-Z membership, they have leveled scripts available. Lakeshore has several Readers Theater sets available that your principal might be willing to buy for you!

Here are some of my favorite books that provide multiple Readers Theater Scripts:

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When implemented effectively, Readers Theater is a very engaging and motivating activity that students love! What are some other Reader’s Theaters ideas have you implemented with your students? Let us know in the comments below!


Want to Pin this for later?

Readers Theater is an extremely effective and engaging strategy for fluency practice. It allows students to practice reading fluently and expressively in an authentic manner. But did you realize you can also use it to work on vocabulary, comprehension, and writing skills? Read these 5 simple Readers Theater ideas for more than just fluency practice.

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