Action! Students Create Reader's Theater
Students will be able to create a script by writing dialogue for a story's characters.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Explain that dialogue is the words that characters say.
- Tell students that dialogue helps the readers understand the actions and thoughts of the characters.
- Tell students that dialogue in a skit or play looks different than it does in prose or a poem.
- Students should be told that they are going to use the words and actions of a characters in a passage to create a skit.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)
- Pass out copies of the Act it Out: "Casey at the Bat" worksheet to each student.
- Explain to the students that "Casey at the Bat" is a poem, and that this version of the poem is actually a skit.
- Ask the students to point out the difference between a poem and a skit.
- Choose nine students to play the characters in the skit. Point out to them the words at the top of the paper that explains how some skits or dramas can be elaborate with what are called props, or the objects that help the viewers picture the setting.
The props and words of the characters can help us picture the setting and what's happening in the skit or story.
Read through the skit allowing the students to stand or stay seated as they read their lines. It may help the audience if the characters stand and attempt to get into charatcer.
After reading through the skit ask the students to describe the setting. Also ask a few volunteers to explain what the characters were doing and saying in the skit.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Give each student a copy of the "Sugar and Spice" worksheet.
- You can place students in pairs to read through the first read of the passage.
- Tell the students that they are going to take the words and actions of the characters and recreate them as a skit.
- Once again, explain that the dialogue of the characters in the skit should help the audience understand the setting, thoughts, and actions of the characters.
- Show them how you can highlight the words that are in parentheses and write them as drama. For example, take the line: "Mindy, I think you're old enough to mix the batter this year." Ask the class which character in the story said that line. They should respond that it was the mom who said it.
- Show them that when you are creating a skit, the dialogue looks different.
- When you are creating the skit, the dialogue should look like this: Mom: Mindy I think you're old enough to mix the batter this year.
- Tell the students it is their turn to turn the dialogue for the passage into dialogue for the skit.
Independent Working Time (10 minutes)
- Have students complete converting the story into a skit with their partners.
- When they are done, they should read through the skit and check that each of them knows the setting and the thoughts and actions of the characters.
- Have students discuss what they have learned about the characters, based on their words and actions. What conclusions can be made about the characters?
- Enrichment: Advanced students can create their own skit, explaining how the characters' words help create the setting and help the audience understand what is happening in the story.
- Support: Struggling students can be partnered with more advanced students to help them with comprehending the story and writing the skit.
Assessment (15 minutes)
- Check for understanding and monitor the recreation of "Sugar and Spice." Make sure the dialogue is written in the correct format and that the skit follows the same storyline was the original story.
- Choose a few students to act out their skits and ask the class to explain the actions and what they learned about the characters.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Remind students that characters' thoughts and actions help us understand what is happening in the story. Students will choose a book of their choice to create a skit from one part of the book. They should write the dialogue in the correct format.