Monday, December 31, 2012

Reader's Theater 101

Reader's Theater is a form of minimalist theater. Students stage a dramatic presentation of a text by reading from a prepared script, using intonation, gestures and facial expression to add meaning and interest to the performance. 

Reader's Theater provides  effective models of reading . Through group interaction around the text, students gain an understanding of  the elements of story, oral expression and the role of characters.

There are many styles of reader's theater, but nearly all share these features:
  • Narration serves as the framework of dramatic presentation.
  • No full stage sets. If used at all, sets are simple and suggestive.
  • No full costumes. If used at all, costumes are partial and suggestive, or neutral and uniform.
  • No full memorization. Scripts are used openly in performance.
The simple format of Reader's Theater makes it easy to incorporate into a classroom.

While many existing scripts focus on fictional narratives, Reader's Theater can also be quite valuable with nonfiction, such as informational texts. To produce a successful Reader's Theater, scripts must be:

     1. short and concise and have:
         - a limited number of
         - implied action
         - strong visual images
         - interesting and enjoyable

     2. cover a range of text types.

Research has shown that Reader's Theater activity can help students developing fluency reading and improve comprehension of the performed texts as well as of new and unpracticed texts. The next post of Your Reading Guru shall discuss on Reader's Theater: Fluency and Comprehension. Until then, remember to always read with style!