Reader’s Theater in the Class. By Archie email@example.com. Drama and Literacy From the page to the stage! . Independent Readers Guided Reading Build basic reading skills for beginners : Vocabulary (phonics ＋ sight words) , pictures,
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Drama and Literacy
From the page to the stage!
Build basic reading skills for beginners:
Vocabulary(phonics ＋ sight words), pictures,
authentic reading materials, confidence and
※Teaching has become so mechanical, and the emphasis on text scores force us to focus on skills to the detriment of the love of reading.
※The emphasis on text scores makes us think we are teaching robots rather than human beings with heart and emotions.
※How to get students motivated to learn ※And how to keep them focused on what
will be taught
※ Reading Fluency
※ Reading Comprehension
※ Build Vocabulary including sight words
※ Improve Listening Skills
※ Develop Expression in Oral Reading
※ Develop Self-Confidence
※ Appreciation of Plays as form of Literature
The limit of time and materials
Not how much you teach,
but the way you teach
Everyone needs to talk - to hear and to play with language, to exercise the mind and emotions and tongue together.
※Reader’s Theatre is a way of sharing
stories, poems or parts of plays and novels
aloud with others.
※ Readers use scripts, suggested
characterisation, and limited actions and
settings to make the world of the story live.
※ The idea is to help listeners imaginatively
become involved in recreating the story
in their own minds.
Robertson, Marion E. and Poston-
Anderson, Barbara (1986)
In Reader's Theater, students "perform" by reading scripts created from grade-level books or stories -- generally without benefit of costumes and props. The goal is to enhance reading skill and confidence through practice with a purpose. Reader's Theater gives students a real reason to read aloud.
It is a theater of the imagination,
since the audience shares the job with the performers of making the story come alive in the theater of the mind.
※ A form of drama
※ Easy to carry out
※ Creative way of sharing aloud
※ No need to memorize the scripts
※ Active involvement
※ Peer cooperation / feedback
※ Engage audience to imagine, think and
recreate the story in mind
A reading activity with
※Enhance reading skill and confidence through
practice with a purpose.
※Offers an entertaining and engaging means of
improving fluency and enhancing comprehension.
※Blends students' desire to perform with their need
for oral reading practice.
※Motivates reluctant readers and provides fluent
readers with the opportunity to explore genre and
※Gives students a real reason to read aloud.
Benefits: literacy skills
※reading ※writing ※listening
Preparing and Practice
※Choose a story or section of a book that is between
3-5 minutes long and photocopy it or rewrite for an
※Go through the whole script before practice by
group. Effective modeling will give them a head
start against any difficulties.
※Arrange the characters, Sit at a round table or
stand in a circle to practice
※Highlight your speeches in your copy of the script.
※Underline or circle the words that tell about
anything you’ll need to act out or stress in
※Read through the script together by group.
--Start slowly and spend the time necessary so
students feel comfortable in the performance
※Read through your part out loud.
If you’re a character, think about how that
character would sound.
--Should you try a funny voice?
--How loud will be enough?
--How would the character feel about what’s
happening in the story?
--Can you speak as if you were feeling that?
※Get up and read through the script again, trying
out faces and actions.
--Would your character stand or move a special
-- Use your body parts or facial expression
to express your feelings. Can you do that?
-- If possible, do all this in front of a mirror at
※Pronunciation, stress and intonation
Here are pointers your readers should remember both in rehearsal and performance
※Hold your script at a steady height, but make
sure it doesn’t hide your face. If there’s anyone in
the audience you can’t see, your script is too high.
※Instead of holding thescrip, us music stands,
especially the performance.
※While you speak, try to look up often, not just at
your script. When you do look at it, move just your
eyes and keep your head up.
※Talk slowly. Speak each syllable clearly.
※Talk loud! You have to be heard by the little old
deaf lady in the back row.
※Talk with feeling.
※If you’re moving around, face the audience as
much as you can. When rehearsing, always think
about where the audience will be.
※Characters, remember to be your character even
when you’re not speaking.
※Narrators, make sure you give the characters
enough time for their actions.
※To help your readers get full vocal power, have
them check their breathing by placing their hands
on their stomachs and inhaling. If they’re breathing
fully, their hands will go out. (The diaphragm
muscle pushes down on the stomach to let the
lower lungs expand.) If their hands go in, it means
they’re breathing with only their upper lungs.
※To help your readers hold themselves straight.
Tongue twisters and other vocal exercises can
help them speak more clearly.
In fact, you may want to warm up your readers
with vocal exercises and stretches before your
rehearsals and performances.
Before an actual performance, discuss with your readers the “what-ifs.”
※If the audience laughs…
※If someone talks in the audience…
※If someone walks into the room…
※If you make a mistake…
※If you drop something…
※If a reader forgets to read…
※Finally, a couple of reminders for the director:
Have fun, and tell your readers what they’re doing
There are many styles of reader’s theater. In the most traditional style:
※Readers are arranged in a row or semicircle,
sitting on high stools or standing.
※Scripts are often set on music stands.
※Scripts must be used, even if lines are memorized
for public performance. The cast should appear to
read from their scripts.
※Readers look straight out toward the audience or
at an angle, and looking at each other while has a
※Pace: While an actor is performing, the pace
should be comfortable but never too fast.
※Ensemble: All actors in a scene should be working
together to create their performance.
※Characterization and Acting: The actor should
have a full understanding of the scene and her
role in it. This should be apparent in vocal
inflection, facial expressions, and body position.
※Eye Contact: On-stage focus or off-stage focus
※Pronunciation, stress and intonation
Tips on Staging
The following tips on staging are based on the Chamber Reader style. But remember, these are suggestions only.(Chamber Readers is a nonprofit reader’s theater company in Humboldt County, California, promoting reading and literature since 1975. Chamber Readers performs each year in nearly every public school in the county and is considered a local institution.)
Like traditional reader’s theater, the Chamber Readers style is based on script reading and the suggestive power of language. But it adds a good deal of mime and movement as well. That’s a bit more work, but it can be more fun too!
Briefly, the distinctive features of the Chamber Readers approach are:
※Characters move around the stage much as in a
※Though narrators look at the audience, characters
most often look at each other.
※Scripts in sturdy binders are held in one hand,
leaving the other hand free for gesturing.
※A set of low stools and a single high stool serve as
versatile stage scenery/props.
※The word stage here means “stage area”—which
could be the front of a classroom. An actual stage
Beginnings and Endings
※Get in your place, enter with good posture, energy,
※A Brief instruction, the characters and the story
※The last words are spoken slowly and with rhythm,
so the audience knows the story is over.
－The endingSlow 3…hap-pilyev-er af-ter.
※When the story is finished, they close their scripts,
face the audience, and bow all together.
For reader’s theater, you really need nothing but scripts. But a little basic equipment can add a lot. Here are some suggestions:
※Special uniform as a team look
※Masks—A half mask
※Chair-height stools and high stools.
Focus:on-stage, off-stage, audience focus
Focus refers to where the readers are looking. Most of the time, it’s simple:
※Narrators use audience focus－they look straight
at the audience.
※Characters use on-stage focus－they look at
whoever they’re talking to, just as in plays or real
※But sometimes you may want characters to use
※Characters can at times also use audience focus.
※Perform in the class
※Perform for the evaluation
※Perform for a special event
※Perform for a competition
※Perform for fun
The truly integrating reading, writing, and thinking skills
※Choose a story and make sure that the book is at
an appropriate reading level for students.
※RT Map –When, Where, Who, What, Why, How
※Cuts and changes
※Set the roles: There are two basic types,
Narrators tell the story.
Characters are in the story.
※Assign to individual readers more than one role.
※Use more then one narrator
※Use character narration
※Repetition --The chunks in the word, sentence
※The balance of each character’s speech
--The role of ALL – why, how
--More then one character speak at the same
※Use songs or chants in the play
※The length of a character’s speech
--long description slow the play
※Assign silent characters
--Sounds in the story too should be added where
possible -- explosions, wind, bees, water…
※The font – the size and type of print
※Top, bottom, left and right margin
※No splitting of speeches
※Read the story
※Practice and rehearsal
If you want to get your kids reading with comprehension, expression, fluency, and joy, there's nothing more effective than Reader's Theater.
It is a simple, effective and risk-free way to get children to enjoy reading. As children write, read, perform and interpret their roles they acquire a better understanding of the literature.
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