Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Readers Theatre With Jan Brett

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Readers Theatre With Jan Brett

Grades 1 – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kary A. Johnson

Fort Worth, Texas


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Engage in a storybook read-aloud by making predictions prereading, listening to the story during reading, and making observations about the characters, setting, and plot postreading

  • Demonstrate an understanding of text structure by retelling and sequencing a story

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the characters, setting, and plot in the story by creating costumes, props, and sets for a Readers Theatre performance

  • Practice oral fluency in English by performing the Readers Theatre script

back to top


Session 1

1. Show students the front cover of the book Hedgie's Surprise, and have them write or draw their predictions of what will happen in the book in the left-hand column of the prediction chart. They can write or draw several predictions.

2. Come together as a whole group and record some of the students' predictions.

3. Conduct a "picture walk" by showing and discussing the pictures in the book before reading the text.

4. Tell students that they will work in groups to turn the book into a play or Readers Theatre. Explain to students that to turn the book into a play, they must truly understand the entire work.

5. Read the story aloud.

6. As a class, discuss the story elements. Use the white board, chalkboard, or butcher paper to make a Story Elements chart, with three columns labeled as "Characters," "Setting," and "Plot." Record students' observations about these story elements in the appropriate columns.

7. Make sure to have students fully describe the characters and setting by asking evaluative questions such as:
  • What were the characters like?

  • What kind of person was the Tomten?

  • Did you like or dislike a particular character and why?

  • Where was the setting?
8. To fill in the plot column, have students tell you what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

9. Have students return to their tables and write or draw what really happened in the book in the right-hand column of the prediction chart. As a class, discuss whether students' predictions were true, false, or partly true and why.

back to top


Session 2

1. Read Hedgie's Surprise again.

2. As a class, list all the characters on chart paper. Describe the characters' physical attributes as well as their personalities, and write these characteristics beside the characters' names. Make sure to include minor characters such as the goslings, the rooster, and the chicks.

3. Divide the class into small groups of 6 to 10 students each.

4. Within the groups, each student can elect which character he or she would like to play. Have students write their names by the characters on the chart paper. There may not be enough parts for everyone to have their own character, so students may need to share roles.

5. Still working in groups, each student can use the art supplies to create a mask, puppet, or costume that represents his or her character. Make sure students write the names of their characters, as well as their own names, onto their masks, puppets, or costumes.

6. Store the masks, puppets, or costumes until Session 5.

back to top


Session 3

1. Have students help you orally summarize Hedgie's Surprise. As a class, come up with a one- or two-sentence summary of the story and record it on the board.

2. Remind students that the setting or the set is where the action of the Readers Theatre takes place and that there are often many settings in one story.

3. Have students list the different settings from the book and, if necessary, conduct a "picture walk" to remind students of different areas such as the henhouse, Hedgie's house, the pond, and the hayloft.

4. Decide as a class which settings the students will construct, and have students form the same groups from Session 2.

5. Assign different student groups to create each set by having them design a sheet of bulletin board paper using markers and construction paper to create the scene from the book. Make sure students label (e.g., "Hedgie's house") and sign the set that they created.

6. Hang sets in the area of the room in which students will perform the Readers Theatre.

back to top


Session 4

1. Reread Hedgie's Surprise to the students.

2. Tell students that they need to make sure they understand the order of the story. Discuss and list the main events of the story in order.

3. Have students write or draw the beginning, middle, and end of the story on the sequencing chart.

4. Explain the terms script and rehearsal. Have groups practice the Readers Theatre script for Hedgie's Surprise. Help students rehearse what they are scripted to say. At this point, they will know the book well and should know when it is their turn to talk.

Note: Have groups practice their Readers Theatre performances during this session and throughout the day when they have free time. Ideally, each group should read through the script about four times before the final performance.

back to top


Session 5

1. Have students put on their masks, puppets, or costumes.

2. Quickly review the book and script with the class.

3. Have each group perform the Readers Theatre for an audience—either the other groups in your class or other classes in the school.

4. Lead a whole-class discussion about what students liked most about the performances and how they felt when performing. Have students illustrate and write about whether they better understood the story through the Readers Theatre experience.

back to top



  • Have students read Hedgie's Surprise Newsnotes to get a better understanding of how Jan Brett came up the ideas for her story. Ask students to bring in photographs or magazine pictures of their favorite animals or places. Have them create a collage from the pictures and include notes about each one (much like Jan Brett's online newsnotes). Then have students write their own stories using the ideas from their notes.

  • Students can send Jan Brett a letter online and tell her about their Readers Theatre experience.

  • Students can write their own Readers Theatre script for another book using the tips on Aaron Shepard's RT page.

back to top



  • Conduct informal assessments throughout the Readers Theatre experience using students' sequencing charts, prediction charts, costumes, and sets. Keep anecdotal records for individual students to determine how well they connect character and set creation to the actual text.

  • After the Readers Theatre performance, have students read a 100-word segment of the book Hedgie's Surprise, recording his or her fluency on the fluency chart. Compare student's fluency before and after the lesson to see if he or she has improved.


back to top