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Reader's Theater: Read the Script
Students will be able to read, understand, and identify the components of dramas.
- Ask students to think about how actors and actresses know what to say when they are on stage or filming.
- Give students time to think independently, and instruct them to turn and talk to a partner about their thoughts. Call on nonvolunteers to share what they discussed with their partners.
- Write the word script on the board, and share that a script is the written text of a play, movie, or television show. Point out that the actors and actresses practice their lines beforehand, and they have them memorized. Ask students to raise their hands if they have ever had to memorize lines for a play.
- Go over the learning objective for today's lesson, and tell students that they will be reading scripts, but that they will not need to memorize their words.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Tell students that a script in a classroom is usually called Reader's Theater. This type of text falls into the genre of drama. Drama is a story written so that it can be acted out for an audience.
- Display a copy of a Reader's Theater Script on the document camera and point out and label the different parts of it. Explain that a scene is a part of the play where there are changes to setting, characters, and events.
- Share that the cast of characters is a list of characters in the play. Explain that the narrator is a person outside the story who tells the story. The setting is listed at the beginning of the script, and it tells where and when the story takes place.
- Point out the dialogue, which is the talking that the characters do in the play, and note how it does not have quotation marks around it. Emphasize that dialogue in a Reader's Theater Script is formatted differently with the character's name, a colon, and then the words the characters speak.
- Explain that the stage directions are added into the script between bits of dialogue to tell the characters how to act and speak. The stage directions are not to be read aloud by the actors and actresses because they are just directions.
- Invite a few students to participate in reading aloud the Reader's Theater Script to model the process of taking turns and reading only the dialogue aloud.
Guided Practice(15 minutes)
- Distribute a copy of the Reader's Theater: Summertime Blues worksheet to each student. As a class, identify the parts of the drama and label them.
- Break the class into groups of four. Assign them each a role from the cast of characters. Instruct them to read aloud the Reader's Theater three times together as a group, each time becoming more fluent and natural with the reading so that it sounds the same way someone would speak.
- Gather the class's attention and ask a series of comprehension questions. Display each question on the board, allow students to discuss in small groups, and call on nonvolunteers to answer and provide evidence:
- What hints does the author give you about the ending of the drama?
- What problem in the drama is solved?
- How does the last line of dialogue wrap the story up?
- What role did the narrator play in this Reader's Theater?
Independent working time(15 minutes)
- Instruct students to answer the comprehension questions on the Reader's Theater: Summertime Blues worksheet. Remind them to go back into the text to mark what information helped them arrive at an answer.
- Use an easier script with simpler words and concepts for struggling readers.
- Give students extra time to practice their part before reading it in front of the class.
- Challenge advanced learners to create their own Reader's Theater Scripts with multiple characters and an involved plot. Remind them to include the essential components of a drama (cast of characters, setting, dialogue, stage directions).
- Give each student a copy of the Graphic Organizer Template: Concept Web worksheet. Instruct them to write Reader's Theater in the center of it and use everything they learned from today's lesson to fill in the outer circles.
Review and closing(7 minutes)
- Instruct students to share their information on the Concept Web. Create a teacher copy on chart paper to serve as an anchor chart in the classroom for future reference.
- Tell students that a Reader's Theater is a fun way of reading a story and practicing fluency and comprehension.