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elementary student with paper crown engaged in reader's theater

Reader’s Theater

Reader’s theater is a strategy for developing reading fluency. It involves children in oral reading through reading parts in scripts. In using this strategy, students do not need to memorize their part; they need only to reread it several times, thus developing their fluency skills. The best reader’s theater scripts include lots of dialogue.

Key Information



When To Use This Strategy

During reading

Appropriate Group Size

With small groups

Why use reader’s theater?

  • It promotes fluency.
  • It helps readers learn to read aloud with expression.
  • It helps build reading confidence.

How to use reader’s theater

  1. Choose a story that can be divided into parts, or character. Tips on choosing scripts ›
  2. Assign reading parts to each child.
  3. Ask students to read their scripts orally for practice.
  4. Have students read assigned parts to the audience.

Watch: Reader’s theater

Reading aloud from a script that has been adapted from a favorite book is a fun and motivating approach to instruction in fluency and expression. (From the Balanced Literacy Diet: Putting Research into Practice in the Classroom)

Collect resources

Language Arts

Reader’s theater lesson plans (with scripts):

Reader’s theater scripts:


Teachers can use reader’s theater as an instructional technique for mathematical word problems. This example could be used for a reader’s theater about 100’s day and the concept of 100 (opens in a new window).

Social Studies

Here are reader’s theater scripts about America (opens in a new window) in varying reading levels.

Differentiated instruction

For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, and younger learners

  • Use easier scripts with fewer words for younger or struggling readers.
  • Write the script (or the student’s part of the script) with print that is easy to read i.e. larger or in preferred font. Supply Braille scripts when needed.
  • Give the student their part in advance. Encourage them to practice at home with their parents
  • Have students read parts together.
  • Allow advanced students to write parts of the script.
  • When assigning roles, be sensitive to students’ individual needs. Assign roles accordingly; provide extra, individual practice if needed.

See the research that supports this strategy

Children’s books to use with this strategy

Topics this strategy is especially helpful for