Students of all ages

  • Learn to assume different roles
  • Understand perspective of other characters
  • Provide practice and experimentation with language
  • Improve comprehension of narrative and expository texts
  • Write script from narrative and expository text

Strategy steps for kindergarten and lower elementary children:

  • Set up learning centers with opportunities for dramatization (such as a store, a play kitchen, a building area).
  • Children role play in these areas carrying on conversations that provide practice and experimentation with language.
  • Use these opportunities to elicit, reinforce, and assess language.
  • Reading Stories
  • After reading a story to the children, have them dramatize it taking turns portraying the different characters and the narrator.
  • After the children read a story in their reader, they can dramatize it taking turns portraying the different characters and the narrator.

Strategy steps for upper elementary through high school students

  • Readers Theater
  • Older children have opportunities for practicing and experimenting with language in Readers Theater. In Readers Theater, students do not act out the plot as in a play. They produce a dramatic reading.
  • After reading a story or a selection in a content area (e.g., a selection on bees), students write a script for Readers’ Theater.
  • They perform a dramatic reading of the story/selection using their script.
  • Scripts for Readers’ Theater do not need to be elaborate, but can be quite simple in structure and form.
  • The following script is an example:

Bees buzz around the orange blossoms.

Bees buzz around the pretty pink mimosa.

Bees search for pollen and nectar to take to the hive.

Bees make honey from the nectar and pollen.

Bees make food for the colony and larvae.

Larvae will soon come out of the eggs to become pupae and then bees.

Bees swarm under the eaves of the house.

Bees swarm to protect their queen.

Bees swarm to find a safe place to build a new hive and start a new colony.

  • A Readers Theater “cast” can have any number of students.
  • The example script has 9 sentences and could be performed by 2, 3, or 4 students.
    • With 3 readers, each one reads 3 lines. For example, Reader 1 reads lines 1, 5, and 9; Reader 2 reads lines 2, 4, and 7; Reader 3 reads 3, 6, and 8.
  • The readers practice reading (signing) their lines clearly and with appropriate expression and then perform for the class.
  • During performance, the students use their scripts.

Through script writing, the students receive specific experience and practice with English. (See McAnally, Rose, & Quigley, 2007, pp. 333-336 for details and examples of Readers’ Theater).

McAnally, P., Rose, S., & Quigley, S. (2007). Reading practices with deaf learners. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.