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Reader's Theater as a post-reading tool


 I have always been interested in helping students with their reading skills, and sometimes I don't think just reading a text silently and doing comprehension activities is enough to help students with this, so I have always been interested in Readers Theater. The way that I would use it is an extension of a reading that they have done previously, and the students are not supposed to modify the original text too much. Below I have answered some questions people might have about Readers Theater.

What is Readers Theater and why do it?
Readers Theater is a way for students to build reading fluency through the practice of reading scripts. Readers Theater can also help students with word and phrase recognition, vocabulary, comprehension of text, and eventually their reading speed.
A group of students prepares a script ahead of their presentation time, practicing reading through the dialogue and going through the unfamiliar vocabulary with their group mates. In doing this, the students re-read a text multiple times and work through the structure of their lines, the pronunciation of words, as well as their reading speed and fluency, which can all benefit students in the long run.
What Readers Theater is not
Readers Theater is not a performance. The text is not memorized by the students as the goal of doing Readers Theater is for students to practice their reading, not to memorize their lines. Nothing is acted out. This is not a play, just students reading a text they prepared to the teacher and other students of the class.
How does this benefit the listeners?
While their classmates are reading the script out loud, the listeners are reading the script silently, following along with their classmates. Reading silently at a spoken pace can help with reading fluency, as the silent reader cannot stop at unfamiliar words and puzzle out the meaning. By following along with the spoken text, the reader works at a steady pace, which can also aid comprehension.

What kind of text should be used?
[/size] Not just any text should be used when doing Readers Theater. In fact, it is simple enough to re-format something the students have already read into a script. By doing this, students are already familiar with the language and vocabulary of the text as well as the content of the reading.
To change a reading text into a script, there are several things that should happen. First, the writer of the script should come up with logical characters for the setting, usually in an interview format. Second, most of the information from the text should be kept. The writer should only add words that help make the information into a conversation. Finally, questions can be added that to help transition from one idea of the text to another idea.
How do I apply this in my classroom?
Because Readers Theater involves many different skills, this kind of activity can be applied in several different ways. In a reading classroom, students can do this activity somewhat regularly to practice reading fluency and work on their reading speed. Higher level reading/writing classes can create their own script and analyze which words or transitions they used in order to transform a text into a script. Even pronunciation classes can do something similar, listening to how students pronounce their words when they read aloud to the class.


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