Building Fluency for Struggling Readers with Reader's Theater

Hi everyone! It's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead!  I am here to share some information about how you can support your struggling readers and help them improve their fluency with Reader's Theater.

I mentioned Reader's Theater in a blog post last year called No More Robot Reading. Check it out here. Are you wondering -what is Reader's Theater?  In Reader's Theater, students do not memorize lines. They use scripts and practice using vocal expression to get the audience (or imagined audience) understanding the story rather then by using visuals like props and costumes. There are so many Reader's Theater resources out there, and many are free! I will share some with you at the end of this post.

Reader's Theater is a  great vehicle to get students to improve their  intonation, pausing, and inflection and to read with expression. I love using this with my RTI Tier 1 reading groups and there is such a wide variety of reading levels available in reader's theater scripts that I can use it with all readers-from struggling readers to those who need a challenge.

I found some great advice over at  Reading Rockets for using it. Some of Susan Finney's advice includes: Starting out with fun scripts (limit boring dialogue), you can model each character's part and match the character to which student would be best to read it (OR my thought is, after your students are comfortable with the concept of Reader's Theater, challenge your students by assigning them a part that they may not have gravitated to), and provide teacher support for vocabulary and understanding characters.

You can do so much with reader's theater - as the title of this post states,  it is terrific for practicing fluency, but you can do a TON with vocabulary and comprehension too!

Here are some resources for Reader's Theater.

Aaron Shepard has some amazing resources on his blog!
      Aaron's Tips for Using Reader's Theater
      Aaron's Free Reader's Theater Scripts
Timeless Teacher Tips' Links to Reader's Theater Scripts - an old site but useful: scroll down for links  to scripts
Giggle Poetry's Poetry Themed Reader Theater Scripts
Joanne Griffin's Reader's Theater Scripts
PBS Kids'  Scripts
A post from an elementary teacher with her tips on using Reader's Theater
Using Reader's Theater Scripts for Homework
Ideas from a New York Times Post if you would like to adapt prose yourself for RT

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