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Lesson Plan

Readers Theatre

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Readers Theatre

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time Four 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Lexington, Kentucky


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Reformat a text according to Readers Theatre guidelines

  • Perform a Readers Theatre piece

  • Read with fluency and expression

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Session 1

1. Introduce Readers Theatre to your class. Give an overview of what it is and how it will be used in the classroom. Review Aaron Shepard's "RT Tips: A Guide to Readers Theatre," which provides tips on staging, scripting, and reading. Encourage students to apply these strategies in their preparation and performance.

2. Introduce the Readers Theatre Rubric and make sure that students are aware of how their performance will be assessed.

3. Place students in groups to work with selected scripts, and assign students in each group the role (or roles) they will read.

4. Have students use a highlighter to highlight their roles in the script. It is a good idea for each student in the group to use a different color highlighter or for students with multiple roles to highlight each of their roles in a different color.

5. Provide time for the groups to practice reading through the scripts. Circulate around the room and give assistance as needed.

6. Have groups take turns "performing" their script in front of the class.

7. Lead a class discussion on ways that the groups could make their performance more enjoyable for the audience, reminding them of tips from "Readers on Stage."

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Session 2

1. Explain that today, rather than simply read a premade Readers Theatre script, the class will begin learning how to create their own scripts.

2. Discuss the following script roles:
  • Narrator(s)

  • Character(s)

  • Silent Character(s)

  • Sound Effects Person
3. Place the selected scripting sheet for modeling on the overhead. Demonstrate how to identify the specific script roles for the selected script. Delineate between narration and dialogue. Narrators read what is "outside" the quotation marks and characters read what is "inside" the quotation marks. Make a list of the roles.

4. Read through the script on the overhead and have students identify who is reading each part of the text. Write the name of the role on the transparency to identify each portion of the text.

5. Select students to read through the script on the overhead based on the roles that were identified. Adjust roles as necessary during the reading in the event a role was omitted.

6. Place students in the same groups as Session 1, and assign one scripting sheet to each group (giving each member a copy).

7. Have students work in groups to identify the roles on their scripting sheet. After all the roles have been identified, students should read through the script to ensure that roles have not been overlooked.

8. Have the groups read their scripts in front of the class. If any of the groups did not have time to perform during Session 1, make sure they do so during this session.

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Session 3

1. Give students an overview of their task. Each group should create a Readers Theatre script from the text selection that has been assigned to their group. They will be expected to "perform" their script the following day. Briefly review the "RT Tips: A Guide to Readers Theatre" with the class to remind students of some tips on scripting and staging.

2. Review the Readers Theatre Evaluation form and remind the groups on the aspects of their script and performance that will be assessed.

3. Have students identify the different roles in their selection and mark them on the copies. Groups can then assign specific roles to each member.

4. Encourage students to use highlighters to identify their portions of the text. If one member is playing multiple roles, using different color highlighters will help him or her distinguish the roles and know when to use a different voice.

5. Have students practice performing their scripts within the group.

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Session 4

1. Have each group perform their Readers Theatre script in front of the class.

2. Use the Readers Theatre Evaluation form to assess each group's performance.

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  • Conduct a lesson on the Readers Theatre Rubric. Give the students practice in scoring other groups using the sheet. Students can then assist with the evaluation of the final performances.

  • Have students perform plays from the PBS Kids ZOOM Playhouse.

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  • Assess student copies of scripts to determine if the text was appropriately formatted for the performance.

  • Use the Readers Theatre Rubric to assess student performances.

  • Each student should complete the Readers Theatre Rubric to self-assess his or her own performance.

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