Reader's Theatre Comprehension Strategy

Reader’s theatre is another strategy that requires that students take an active role in reading.  When using reader’s theatre, students select a portion of the assigned reading or a portion of text that is approved by the teacher.  They may then use an existing script or create one that represents their interpretation of the text.  “Students can create their own scripts, full of dialogue, based on the texts they read and then present dramatic readings to an audience” (Kane, 2007, p. 271).  Use of this strategy requires focused attention on the text in order to produce an interpretation.  The performance may also encourage other students to look more deeply into the text. 

Sadly, this strategy does not really have step-by-step instructions.  There are many possibilities--which are only limited by a lack of imagination.  It should be understood that students do not memorize their lines.  The art of reader's theatre is found when the reader has practiced reading smoothly and with appropriate expression.  Be flexible with the performance, allowing classroom-appropriate movement and props.  Then, watch the characters--and the students--come alive.

Implementation Guide

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