We do Reader's Theater on Fridays. Students are asked to wear a black shirt.
I have a class discussion to decide what type of props we need and then students bring in the props. We borrow music stands so that students have somewhere to put their readng materials. Sometimes, I make a back drop with the help of my students.
I give students a grade during dress rehearsal or the day of performance based on fluency, intonation, etc.............
We usually invite one or two classes to visit.
Good luck and have fun!
Reader's Theater II
The methods teachers use to implement Reader's Theater vary. Here is a collection of ideas used by some teachers.
We do Reader's Theater on Fridays. Students are asked to wear a black shirt.
Reader's Theater is a great way to build fluency with your lower readers. It's basically a play that they practice over the course of a week and present on Fridays. I allow 2 15 minute blocks of time during the week for practice and a 30 minute block of time on Friday for presentations. And I require them to practice them for homework as part of their reading log. I know other teachers devote more time in class to this...whatever works for you. All the kids love it!! It really brings out the actor in them! Check on-line for "Reader's Theater" there are lots of sites available with free scripts.
I've never used Reader's Theater for reading comprehension. I've used it for fluency. Usually the kids pick a play and they have to practice it by switching around the roles. For the performance, they all choose a role and practice it again.
My end of the year activity is for kids to write their RT scripts with a partner. This is a difficult task that requires the ability to condense a story to mainly dialogue. I encourage kids to choose a "favorite book". This can be a picture book or a chapter book. My really high kids love the challenge of a chapter book.
The last week of school we read all the student scripts and perform them in front of a video camera. They love to watch themselves.
I do a Reader's Theater every six weeks.
Monday: read the "actual" story from the book. They get one copy of the script to take home.
Tues-Thurs: practice- switching parts (focusing on fluency, voice and volume)
Thursday- they get their parts
Friday- perform - I reserve the cafeteria stage and let parents, other teachers and even our principals know when it is. Some parents can come, others can't, but I usually have an okay turn out. Usually about 5-10 parents make it and different classes come each time. The principals always try to show up, but they can't everytime with their schedules. The first six weeks I had the class share write an invitation to them.
The kids really enjoy it. I do two reader's theaters each time so that I have two groups. I have also learned this year a great way to pick parts. On Wed I have the kids tell me their 3 favorite parts. I usually works out that they can get one of those parts. If no one chooses a part I will ask the class if anyone wants that part and I even might give them a ticket (for the treasure chest) for switching. Some times I just tell them that next time they get to pick their part. The students are really good about reminding me of who gets to choose their part. I just found that if I let them give me a few options then I don't have hurt feelings.
I did this very thing with my fourth grade unit on the water cycle. I wrote it as if the water droplets were talking to each other and got in most of the vocabulary....transpiration, condensation, etc. I do not have a copy of it here at school, and now I teach Title I reading so I hope I saved a copy at home.
It wasn't hard....just personalize the idea somehow....characters talking about walking through a biome....have a dream about flying over the United States if studying regions. The kids liked reading it and I would like to think that it helped them come test time.
I will look hard at home to see if I can find it and post as an attachment.
...for what it is worth, here is the reader's theater I wrote about the water cycle. It is not perfect, but my fourth graders liked it. I hope I can do this attachment....let me know if it doesn't work.[Log In To See Attachments]
I usually don't have the kids work on one RT at a time due to level... usually reader's theater time in my classroom would look like:
groups around the room (diff. # in each group) sitting in circles and reading their parts. When they finish it, they start right over again. The very hardest thing I've found is getting everyone to follow along when they aren't speaking. Usually, though, the rest of the group holds them accountable.
I like for them to be in small groups, and I really like twos because of my learning objective: multiple re-readings for fluency. The goal would be to keep them actually reading for a large percentage of the time.
So if I ever do a full class reader's theater (sometimes we'll do this for a performance or a special occassion or something) then I double up a lot of kids on every part so that many people are reading. In that case, I might put together small groups that have one of everyone in them or we just practice whole group.
I used Reader's Theatre during my Workstation Rotation Time. First, each group was given their scripts when they rotated to the Teaching Table (ie Guided Reading Table -- I sometimes do Guided Writing so we came up with a name that covered both concepts). That way I could account for different reading levels and sizes of group. Each group read their scripts with me, allowing me to correct their pronounciation of unfamiliar words and discuss the meaning of other words. Just like guided reading, we discussed the plot of the story and made connections. We also discussed reading with expression, pausing, etc.
For the next rotation, the students found their scripts in one of the stations they rotated to. They had a chance to practice on their own. Another day, we reviewed speaking with expression, etc and then everyone had another chance to practice at the same time.
Eventually, every group performed for the rest of the class and after some fine-tuning, they visited and performed for other classes. I do teach grade 5 this year but did something similar when I had grade 1/2. (I think I relied on parent volunteers more to make sure the students were on track.)
Depending on our schedule, we sometimes create puppets to go along with the play. I have a huge box of "junk" that they are allowed to use to create whatever they want for a pupper (prop). They love this!! Other things we have done- create a mural for a backdrop, draw a simple scene on the white board, allow them to wear something (they have at home) that would go along with their part... I keep it simple! I ALWAYS KEEP IT SIMPLE! :)
We perform mostly for the other kids in our class, but on occassion we get to perform for other classes. Scheduling seems to always get in the way for our performing for others.
I don't require my students to memorize their lines. I allow them to have their script with them as they perform. Many do remember their lines though.
I have done it with my second graders and they just love it! I did a whole fairy tale unit and as a culminating activity students did reader's theatre for humorous fairy tales, for example Goldilocks and the Three Bullfrogs. This is how I did it. I first assigned parts. I do consider reading ability. I do not want to give a struggling reader a part that would be too difficult. I know that the purpose is for fluency practice, but I want everyone to feel successful. After I assign the parts the kids read it through a few times at their desks. I have them focus on reading it fluently with feeling. Next I have them make a decorated name tag for their part that they can wear around their neck when they "perform". For example if he/she is a narrator that child would make a name tag that says "Narrator" and would decorate a colorful border around it. The kids then practice their "performance". I realize that reader's theater is not like a real play, but I have found that the kids like to put some sort of action and movement into their play. The students practice over and over again and then finally, I invite other classes into my room to watch my students perform. The kids think this is a hoot and they really ham it up. This whole process could take a week or two, but I can tell you they never got sick of practicing and couldn't wait for other classes to see the performance.View Thread
I've put Reader's Theater at centers and have them worked on them during that time. I've also sent them home, say, on a Monday, given them about 15 minutes to practice each day (plus assigned practice as homework) and then have them perform on Friday. Remember, they don't need to have the lines memorized or have props. The neatest thing that I've heard about is turning nonfiction text (say a Science lesson) into Reader's Theater. Not quite sure how to do that yet, but I'm going to try!View Thread
I suggest you read the entire script aloud first time through. Then talk about the "story," discuss character traits, practice visualizing the setting, etc. Let small groups practice all the parts for a day or two. After that, students choose parts and rehearse for a couple of more days. Finally, they "perform" for their classmates and often other classrooms as well. You can google scripts, look at the archived threads here or purchase reader's theater collections at your local teacher store. I have a couple I like from Scholastic. I have a group working on Spiderella right now and they are having a ball.View Thread
I agree. I tend to do shorter reader's theatre (Cdn. sp.!!) during shared reading time. I usually have boys and girls alternate or different groups alternate parts and we work on building fluency and expression. At least once every 2 weeks we have a new r's theatre to try and we practice several times over the course of a week.
Occasionally we have gone to a kind. or gr. 1 class to perform.
One of the best for expression was using "Yo? Yes". The kids loved it.
I do Reader's Theatre in my classroom but not as a center. Students get a script on Monday. They practice all week and they "perform" it on Friday. In Reader's Theatre there are no props or costumes. They just stand with their script in the front of the room and read. You might have some stands (like music stands) for them to put their scripts on but it isn't necessary.
I do have a Puppet Theatre for a center. I have a folding stage that has a curtain. It sits on a table and the students stand behind it. I have lots of puppets, and I make up my own scripts to go along with our stories. They LOVE this center!
There are some sites online that have scripts. Lisa Blau is one site that is really good. I think it is www.lisablau.com If not, do a search for it.
Hope this helps. If you have any questions, I will try to answer them.