Tips for Implementing Readers Theater

By Linda Cornwell

Model expressive reading often.

Introduce Readers Theater using pre-prepared scripts.  Students need to grasp the concept of Readers Theater and become familiar with the format of a script before writing their own.

Teach the basic steps of performance: how to use highlighters to mark the parts, how to interpret the part and read expressively, how to hold the script, and when to assume various stage positions.

Give the students lots of time to prepare. Emphasize practice.  Readers should practice their roles in different ways: individually and in small groups, privately and in front of others.

Keep a copy of the marked script at school and send one home for parents to read and practice with their children.

Rehearse with the readers, providing needed direction and support regarding their interpretation, pacing, expression, volume, positions, and motions.

Begin with short presentations.

Perform for an audience as often as possible.

Use props sparingly.