10 Reader’s Theater Resources

The Library Adventure uses affiliate links, see our policies for more information.

TLA imageReader’s Theater is a literacy activity where scripts are adapted from works of children’s literature and each child takes on the role of a character from the story. By acting out their parts, kids gain practice in reading aloud, including the use of proper inflection and expression and appropriate facial expressions and gestures. This is a wonderful way to bring written material alive for kids and to involve them in what they read. The links below will help you prepare a Reader’s Theater experience for groups of children at home, at school, or in the library.

Theory and Best Practices

  • Though this article from Reading Rockets, “Reader’s Theater: Oral Language Enrichment and Literacy Development for ELLs” by Kristina Robertson,  focuses mainly on English Language Learners, the suggestions on getting started with Reader’s Theater are great for any first-timer. Included are ideas for selecting stories, practicing parts, and evaluating performances.
  • The Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) also provides a “how to” guide for Reader’s Theater, which includes hints for creating your own scripts as well as relevant copyright information and supporting articles.
  • At Read Write Think, a site published by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D., has developed a Reader’s Theater Lesson Plan  for use with students in grades 3 to 5.

Where to Find Scripts

  • Adapting your own Reader’s Theater scripts is fun, but time-consuming. Luckily, there are many free scripts available online. Here are some great sites which provide printable scripts that are free for educational use.
  • Aaron Shep’s website has scripts for many lesser-known fairy tales and folk tales, and also for famous works such as Casey at the Bat and The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm. Scripts are sorted by theme, age, genre, time period, and more, and many are available in shorter team forms for use by small groups, including homeschooling families. (My favorite script from this site is for The Hidden One.)
  • Stories to Grow By is another site with a heavy focus on fairy tales and folk tales. A couple of years ago, I had an especially successful Reader’s Theater experience sharing A Donkey to Market with a group of fifth graders.
  • Storycart.com sells some scripts, but their page of freebies has a few appealing titles, including a story about John Henry and a myth about Prometheus and Pandora. All are available in .pdf format.
  • Dr. Young’s Reading Room is a great source for scripts based on picture books, including favorites like Brave Irene, Hooway for Wodney Wat, and Miss Nelson is Missing. Also included are longer popular titles, such as Horrible Harry, Lawn Boy, and Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
  • Busy Teachers Cafe also has scripts for many popular and classic children’s books: Tacky the Penguin, Little House on the Prairie, Charlotte’s Web, Stella Luna, and more.
  • Last but not least is Giggle Poetry, which focuses on Poetry Theater. Scripts are adapted from children’s poetry collections published by Meadowbrook Press. (This site is part of FictionTeachers.com, where I found the wonderful Rumpelstiltskin, Private Eye by Jason Sanford,which I used with fifth graders in Spring 2013.)
About Katie Fitzgerald

Katie Fitzgerald holds degrees in English and library science, and has worked in small town and big city libraries, serving both children and teens. You can read her book reviews and posts about story time, picture books, and early literacy at Story Time Secrets. Also follow her blog on Facebook for kidlit quotations, story time suggestions, and interesting links.

Comments

  1. Connie Cole says:

    Why will this site not take my library email address??

  2. This is such a wonderful way to involve young readers in stories and make them aware of the magic in them.

  3. Such a great resource, I’m about to get my own class and want to introduce this to them to help improve fluency. Thank you

Leave a Reply to Katie Fitzgerald Cancel reply

*