For the child working on reading skills, practicing with readers theater scripts is a great addition to your regular lessons. If the word “theater” makes you a little nervous, don’t be. It’s an easy and fun exercise for all!
Readers theater involves taking a piece of literature, adapting it into a script, and then reading it aloud. Each part in the script is assigned to a different person, but because all parts are read, there’s no pressure to memorize the lines. As children read, however, encourage them to dramatize their parts with gestures and expressive voices. Not only are they practicing reading, then, they’re also improving their speaking skills.
There are a number of ways you can incorporate readers theater:
Find plays already published online or in children’s magazines. You can find them written for anywhere from two readers to twenty-five or more. Here are some sites to try:
Once you and your student are comfortable with the format and the process, you can take the project a little further. Have your child choose a favorite story, such as a fable, a fairy tale, or even a picture book story, and work together to adapt it into a script. Where there is narrative, write out the Narrator’s part; where there is dialogue, write it out for the various characters.
If your child is enjoying script-writing, you can help him develop his own original script. You might take it from a story he’s already written, or he might write the script from scratch.
Next, get the whole family involved in the play! Non-readers could be in charge of sound effects. For even more fun, you can record the performances to watch again later.
Photo by geminicollisionworks