ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Introduction to Readers Theater

Updated on February 25, 2015

My very first theatrical experience was nothing more than a fluke my fourth grade year of elementary school. A teacher asked me if I would be willing to fill in for a student who got nervous about performing at my elementary schools annual "Veterans Day Play". We all read off of cheat cards, but together we managed to pull off the performance. The following year I signed up for additional performances, and by middle school I was performing in my first community theater play The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

By my sophomore year in high school I became an inducted member of the International Thespian Society, and by my junior year I was an Honors Thespian of the ITS. I soon spread my abilities to the backstage aspect of theater in places such as lighting, sound, stage crew, set design, and even directing. No matter where the stage took me, my favorite memory has always been that first performance in the Veterans Day Play because that was the first time I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself.

That is the beauty of childhood theater: a group of kids working together to create something amazing.

During my last two years of high school, I had the opportunity to participate in an after school program my high school theater director had started at a neighboring elementary school. The elementary school's art programs had been dramatically cut, and so we volunteered our time every Friday afternoon to teach students the basics of theater. Never in my life have I ever seen such an excitable group of young individuals so willing to be engaged in something that requires reading and other important important skill-sets taught at the elementary level.

It was not until college that I heard of a program that embodies the importance of reading with this drifting art form we call theater. The Reader’s Theater Program encourages students to study repeated texts through scripts and to break out of their comfort zones. In doing so, Reader’s Theater Programs have improved fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary skills. The program encourages critical thinking, teaches vital social skills, and introduces children to new cultures through the scripts. Readers Theater, although most commonly used in reading classes, may also be implemented into other courses as well.

Reader’s Theater gives students a reason to engage in the repeated readings of texts, one of the most efficient ways to improve reading skills in young children. Most children rather not sit and read the same stories repeatedly, but with Reader’s Theater it gives the student a more interesting reason to do so, knowing that in the next day or so they will be performing the text for their peers. Students read their stories out loud, similar to a play, but normally without props or costumes unless the teacher decides otherwise as a way to entertain the students and interest them further.

In each Reader’s Theater script the parts are color coded. Each of the characters of each individual story are for different levels of reading, allowing teachers to group more advanced readers with younger, less experienced readers. For example, one student who is a more avid reader would be given the role of a character that uses more advanced words or phrases, allowing that particular student to increase his or her own vocabulary while the less advanced student is able to read from the same script with a role not requiring a substantial amount of new vocabulary. The less advanced student will still have just as big of a role and speak just as frequently as the more advanced reader, but with simpler words and phrasings that are appropriate to his reading capabilities.

Readers Theater can be adapted to more than just elementary reading classes. If elementary teachers work together on a Readers Theater script, other courses can get involved. Imagine this scenario: a group of elementary teachers get together to begin a course focusing on a Readers Theater script. The script these teachers have chosen is a comedy about the old west. The reading teacher has children studying new vocabulary that will appear in the script. In history class, students gather information on their characters by researching the type of characters they will play; Little Susie is playing a train conductor in the play and so she is given an assignment by her history teacher to research train stations in the old west while Bobby, who is playing a postman, gets to study about the pony express and present his findings to the class. In math, students are studying measurements and so are held responsible for building "flats" for the backdrop of the upcoming show. In art, the students paint the flats for the background of their upcoming play. All of this time put into a single production encourages students to read, and re-read their script.

Of course, not all schools go to such lengths to expand the Readers Theater Program to other courses, but it can be done, and it adds meaning and pride to the students performances.

Readers Theater is a remarkable program. Ask your child's elementary school whether or not they have considered implementing Readers Theater into their reading courses today!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Stephanie Ashley profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hornsby 

      3 years ago from Brooks, Georgia

      Absolutely! I've seen it time and time again- and the children have so much fun doing Readers Theater!

    • profile image

      Brian 

      3 years ago

      I believe this would be a great way for children to interact while learning vital concepts and life skills.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)