Reader's Theater Elementary
Reader's Theater Elementary
Teaching Resources
Categories Educator Resources 

Definition: Reader’s Theatre is a strategy that adapts written text into simple dramatic play.

  • Students read from a script to tell a story in an entertaining form.
  • Requires no costumes, no sets and minimal props.
  • There is no memorization.

Purpose and Benefits:

  • Helps children read with expressive voices and bring text to life
  • Helps students improve comprehension
  • Learn new words and new concepts
  • Improves oral reading and oral language skills
  • Students with reading issues get support from their classmates
  • Students are exposed to different genres


Note: the steps to creating a readers’ theatre can be done over a few days or a week.

  • Select an appropriate text that contains dialogue and write the script.
    • Most picture books are appropriate to create a script for a readers’ theatre.  You can use the entire book or parts of the text.
    • Keep speeches and narrative passages short.
    • The teacher reads the script using appropriate expression.
      • All students should have a copy of the script.
      • Have students join in where there is dialogue.
      • Have students read the entire script in unison.
      • Assign parts (or allow students to select parts).
        • If the text has only a few characters, different students can play that character.
        • The students take home the script to practice reading their parts.
        • Have the class rehearse the readers’ theatre a few times before the final performance.

Staging the Play

  • The reader should be visible to the audience so they can hear the lines, see movements and all facial expressions.
  • Have ‘players’ look at, talk to, and react to the other characters in the play.
    • The narrator can face the audience.
    • Students/characters can be all together in front of the audience or you can have some exit and enter from the side at appropriate places
    • If desired, you can video tape the performance and watch it with the entire class.
    • Encourage students to share compliments and constructive criticism.

For more information on Reader’s Theatre

Young, C., & Raskinski, T. (2009) Implementing readers theater as an approach to classroom fluency instruction.. The Reading Teacher, 63(1), 4-13 

View Example Here: