Merry Bee on Literacy - Instruction
Instructional Techniques -
Readers Theater
10/21/05 This is the printer friendly version of

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. Additional techniques and other literacy topics are at < >.

Readers Theater


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.


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 at < >


Rubric; can be used as self-evaluation &/or with audio/video taping. An example is the Readers Theatre Evaluation at < >. This rubric was prepared for a Humboldt State College course and is suitable for grades 9-12.
Lila Carrick offers assessment suggestions in her online article, #3 on the following list of links to resources.

Links to resources:

1. Readers Theatre Teacher's Guide at < > Implementation guide

2. Aaron Shepard's RT Page at < >
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

3. Internet Resources for Conducting Readers Theatre at < >. Lila Carrick covers rationale, selecting scripts, procedures for implementation and assessment. Links to related internet resources are given throughout. For teachers of grades 1-12.

4. Reader's Theatre Basics contains creating your own script, student objectives, and eight prepared scripts for stories popular with intermediate level readers. < >

5. BCHS Reader's Theatre at < >. 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

6. Readers Theatre at < >. Adapting poetry to Readers Theatre. Detailed with an example. grades 8-12

7. 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. grades 1-7. < >

8.The Readers' Theatre Collection has dozens of short scripts for the early reader by both well-known and anonymous authors; appropriate for grades 1-3. < >

9. ReadingLady Reader’s Theater at < >. 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

10. Readers Theater/Language Arts Home Page at < >. Rick Swallow's collection of 86 scripts for elementary, grades 2-6

11. Scripts For Schools at < > 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

12. Classroom Theater at < >. 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

13. Readers Theatre Scripts of the Month at < >. Download short archived scripts in either Microsoft Word or text format. New scripts are no longer being added, but there are 28 archived. Includes nonfiction "report" scripts. grades 3-5

***You may also be interested in Merry Bee listings for uses of the Internet in the classroom at < >.

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