I’ve been posting about literacy based games this month. Reader’s Theater is not actually a game, but kids have fun participating in it!
Reader’s Theater is a dramatic adaptation of a piece of literature. It typically involves children writing a script based on a book and then a dramatic read aloud of the script. Reader’s Theater is great for children’s communication skills. It provides an opportunity for them to develop fluency (when reading aloud) and collaboration skills (when working together to create a script). In addition, children learn to read with expression. Read what Reading Rockets and Scholastic have to say about Reader’s Theater.
Reader’s Theater can be motivational to dormant readers. ** Dormant readers are typically your children who do well, but who are not intrinsically motivated to read on their own. Instead of having to read a whole book, the reader only needs to read parts of the book (really, the script, which is often shortened from the original text) with expression. I bet you will find that a dormant reader might actually enjoy reading when he is able to express himself a bit.
Reader’s Theater can be fun and engaging for preschoolers as well. Of course, I’m sure you are wondering how preschoolers are supposed to act out a script if they can’t read it! Well, parents or teachers can read aloud the script and the children can act out bit parts. For example, Michigan’s “Michigan Reads” initiative provides a Reader’s Theater script for preschoolers called “Barnyard Song.” An adult narrates the story and the children act as the animals by “reading” the animal sound. There are even animal masks provided! (Typically, props and costumes are not used in Reader’s Theater, but I think at the preschool age, masks will definitely make the experience more hands-on and fun!)
Reader’s Theater can be a motivating reading activity for dormant readers and an engaging activity for emergent readers. Check out the web, there are a ton of resources for Reader’s Theater scripts already there, or make a script based on your child’s favorite book. Consider planning a Reader’s Theater experience for your next playgroup meeting. I bet your preschoolers will have fun. . . and they will learn from it, too!
** For more information on dormant readers, I recommend reading The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller. This is a fantastic resource for parents and educators.**
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