Readers Theater Unplugged

by Ruby Dellamano

Want an easy and fun way to set up a Readers Theater Learning Center in your classroom?  Let the kids do the work!  It’s as easy as 1,2, 3!

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My Center Tub
  1. Set up a tub in your center area to hold the copies of the scripts that you are going to use.
  2. Add some cardboard masks in the tub.
  3. Set up a schedule for the Centers.

An important initiative in our school district is to support the needs of our English Language Learners. One important strategy that we are using is through Oral Language Development. I wanted my students to have many opportunities to practice oral language but I wanted it to be with consistent routines. Most of all I wanted to make sure that it would not take a lot of work on my part.  So I added a Readers Theatre Center to our repertoire of activities.

Initially, it seemed like it was going to to be a lot of work trying to manage this center.  I wanted to make it fun but wanted to find an easy way to do the masks or  providing the props.  As I worked with Readers Theater and plays, I discovered that the kids really loved having masks.  So I found some blank cardboard masks on Oriental Trading Company. They were super cheap-24 masks for $3.50 so I bought a few packages for future plays. I wrote the names of the characters on the cardboard masks and left them in the tub.

I have a daily rotating schedule for English Language Arts Centers, as well as English Language Development Centers BUT the scripts  for each play stay in the tub for two weeks.  It was minimal work and it affords me more time to work around the room and the students get to revisit a familiar read.  It was a win-win solution for us.

We were using Clown School for this center–a fun play I found on Have fun!

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Ruby Dellamano is a second grade teacher in East Palo Alto, CA. She is also a  mother of four adult children and has two wonderful and precocious granddaughters who keep her on her toes. She left teaching to raise her children but has enjoyed returning to the classroom.

“It has been truly fun going back after  raising  my children as it gave me the  opportunity to experience childhood development up close and personal.”

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