Role Assignment Techniques for Reader's Theater

Posted by Playbooks Publishing on

Teachers can have a positive impact on students' reading performance, confidence, and engagement in Reader's Theater by carefully assigning roles based on their reading levels and abilities.

By taking the time to assign roles appropriately, teachers can ensure that students can read their parts accurately and with confidence, which can lead to improved reading fluency and comprehension. When students feel successful in reading their parts, they gain a sense of accomplishment, which can motivate them to read more and further develop their literacy skills.

To help, here's a quick start guide for assigning story characters to readers:

  1. Visit Recommended Reader Assignments to find the recommended reader assignment forms for each story.

  2. Use the Recommended Reader Assignment (RRA) chart provided with the Playbook® story to determine which roles are best suited for your students’ reading abilities and personalities. The chart shows the number of times each character speaks and/or the percent of words of the total story each role makes up.

  3. For multi-leveled Reader's Theater stories, assign the character roles privately based on matching the reading level of the reader as closely as possible with the level of a given character. You can use the Playbook® Reading Levels, the correlation chart to other well-known levels, or give the Student Oral Readability test, to determine level, all found at Implementation Tools. This will ensure that each reader has the opportunity to read their part with accuracy and confidence. Don't let students choose their own roles!

  4. Identify your highest level students and your lowest level students. The students that fall in between become your medium level students.

  5. On the chart, enter your lower-level students first into the columns for the easiest roles trying to match student reading level, gender and personality based on which roles are the main characters or the supporting characters.

  6. Then enter the names of the next level readers into the corresponding columns in the same manner.

  7. Fill in your highest-level roles last. Use more than one chart if necessary and use a new form for each series of groups so that you always have a record of what role each student played in every story.

  8. You can also use the RRA chart as a record of student participation and improvement.

  9. If you have to select a higher or lower level for a student than their reading level, it may be better to select the lower until students become familiar with the format. Remember, the goal is to have students read with confidence in front of their peers.

For a more in-depth overview on using all the forms Playbooks provides to facilitate role assignments, watch the free webinar on Best Role-Assignment Techniques at

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