Reader's Theater Methodology
Reader's theater is reading a story aloud, like a play, without memorization, props or a stage. Students are each assigned a character role and read their part with expression, meaning and enthusiasm. It's best done in small non-threatening groups of approximately 6 students so students can become practiced at their roles prior to standing in front of a group or audience. Repeated readings in multi-leveled small groups (high, medium, and low readers together) also provide the practice of "Repeated Guided Oral Reading" which is the only proven method of building reading fluency.
Plays inherently come with built-in strategies to help students read better. The acting out of story dialogue compels readers to work more closely with the text to interpret and project meaning into the experience. As a result, students show improvement in vocabulary, comprehension, and retention.
Reader's theater gives students an outlet for creative expression and a safe platform for building reading confidence which translates into success in many other areas of their lives.
Putting on a single theatrical play in a student environment can require a great deal of planning, preparation, and practice, and it may only provide a spotlight for a handful of students. Reader’s theater, on the other hand, is easy to implement on a daily or weekly basis and provides a balanced platform for "all students to shine."
Strong reading and comprehension skills are the cornerstone for a successful educational experience. Reader’s theater is a well-known fluency building strategy that engages and entertains students while they learn and improve their skills. Because reader’s theater is an approved method of "Repeated Guided Oral Reading," it is a research-based method of reading.
Repeated Guided Oral Reading
Research shows four repeated readings sufficiently improve reading fluency. Most traditional texts cannot hold students' attention for up to four separate readings. Reader's theater truly engages students and is the most popular form of "repeated guided oral reading." Reader's theater provides an easy-to-implement dramatic text that does not require memorization, props, or a stage.