Last year, I attended a conference on “Creating Fluent Readers.” From the many things I learned at the conference, I decided to start implementing the Readers Theater technique in my classroom. This technique is designed to not only boost confidence in reading, but in performing in front of an audience, by having students read from a script and visualize the action without the use of props, sets, or costumes.
Every week or two, I choose a script and designate each student’s “role.” Most scripts connect with an aspect of our current curriculum; for example, in January we incorporated scripts about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. In February, I chose scripts based on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Students get so excited and often ask first thing on Monday morning, “Do we get new Readers Theater scripts today?” Every day, students have time to practice their scripts, with the expectation that they will be “performance ready” by Friday. Utilizing Readers Theater techniques in my classroom has motivated my students not only to become better readers, but has also helped them learn how to become a character.
We are always striving to maximize reading comprehension and fluency and I believe that Readers Theater has helped my students in both areas. One of the best aspects of this activity has been that they have become excited about reading, and they are strengthening one of the most important skills they need.
In working to create lifelong learners and students who have a true love of reading, this addition to our lower school classroom experience has been well worth it!