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Instructional Techniques

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Reading Strategies is a label commonly used to refer to both the strategies used by students to get meaning from text and the strategies used by teachers to structure and deliver instruction. Merry Bee uses the label ‘instructional techniques’ for those instructional strategies the teacher uses and ‘reading strategies’ for those strategies the student uses in reading.
 
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Background

Readers Theater refers to the dramatic reading of a script.
There are generally no costumes, sets, or props; if used are minimal as a character identifier.
There are generally no movements around a stage or action between performers; if used are minimal as a natural part of expression.
There is no memorization. Scripts are held by the performers. Any memorization is a natural outcome of repeated readings.
Narrator(s) read(s) the narration that provides any necessary description.
Developed as an educational technique in the 1960s following productions at the professional level beginning in 1951.
Use for whole class or small group.
Use in grades 1-12.

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Explanation

There are various approaches to Readers Theater, but the general process is simple:

  • Select a packaged script or select a written work and create your own script.
  • Rehearse using voice, gesture, facial expressions. Be “in character”.
  • Perform informally for class or another audience.

  
This technique is particularly pertinent to developing fluency in reading as demonstrated in the research report Reader’s Theater and Its Affect on Oral Language Fluency.

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Assessment

Rubric; can be used as self-evaluation &/or with audio/video taping.
One rubric example is the Readers Theatre Evaluation prepared for a Humboldt State College course, suitable for grades 9-12.
Lila Carrick offers assessment suggestions in her online article.

Links to resources
  
  • Aaron Shepard's RT Page is popular for his Scripts & Tips for Reader's Theater. An online guide helps with scripting, staging and performing. 36 free scripts from 3 to 14 minutes in length with something for any age level of reader. grades 2-11
  • Lila Carrick's article Internet Resources for Conducting Readers Theatre covers rationale, selecting scripts, procedures for implementation and assessment. Links to related internet resources are given throughout. For teachers of grades 1-12
  • Reader's Theatre Basics contains creating your own script, student objectives, and eight prepared scripts for stories popular with intermediate level readers. grades 3-8
  • BCHS Reader's Theatre is a guide used by students at Baie Comeau High School to create Reader's Theatre scripts. Includes a sample, but no student scripts are posted at present due to copyright issues. grades 8-12
  • Adapting poetry to Readers Theatre is described in detail with an example. grades 8-12
  • ProTeacher Readers Theatre lists ideas and lessons posted by teachers who use Readers Theater. Several give especially helpful how-to directions for making scripts from stories.
  • The Readers' Theatre Collection has dozens of short scripts for the early reader by both well-known and anonymous authors. grades 1-3
  • ReadingLady Reader’s Theater. Scripts to download as Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF file. Comments on getting started with readers theater in the Four Blocks Framework. grades 1-3
  • Rick Swallow has collected 86 scripts for elementary. grades 2-6
  • Scripts For Schools answers the why and who of using readers theater. Tips for using readers theater and choral reading. Scripts for readers theater, choral reading, and puppet shows to purchase by downloading or mail. Join a readers theater listserv. grades k-10
  • At Classroom Theater, teachers can download scripts taken directly from Meadowbrook Press books: stories featuring girls, fairy tales, mysteries. 10 to 20 minutes. Lesson plans with some. grades 3-8
  • Download short archived scripts in either Microsoft Word or text format at Readers Theatre Scripts of the Month. New scripts are no longer being added, but there are 28 archived. Includes nonfiction "report" scripts. grades 3-5
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page last updated: 11/1/05
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