6 Reasons to Use Reader's Theatre in Your Classroom

Reader's Theatre: not just for beginning readers! 

I just love using reader's theatre in my classroom! Reader's theatre is defined as a group of readers who "perform" a grade-level text for an audience, usually without scenery, props, costumes, and most importantly, without the stress and pressure of students memorizing their lines.

Here are 6 reasons why you should be using reader's theatre in your classroom too!

1. Increases Reading Fluency

Research shows that students who read with fluency have better comprehension of the texts they read. Reader's theatre scripts help increase oral reading fluency as students need to practice their parts numerous times before they perform them to their audience.

2. Encourages Reluctant Readers

You will find that reader's theatre is a great motivation for your lowest readers. Mine tend to choose to take on major roles (narrator, main characters) and have truly risen to the occasion. Seeing their faces when they perform in front of their peers and their grown ups makes my teacher heart soar! I've even had a few parents come up to me after the performance, thanking me for helping to build their child's confidence.

3. Encourages Fluent Readers

Fluent readers benefit too, as they can focus on the expression in their dialogue and are able to dig deeper when exploring the genre and their characters.

4. Allows Students to Perform and Practice Public Speaking Skills

Do you have any actors and actresses in your class? Or maybe you do, but they just haven't been discovered yet! Reader's theatre allows students to be dramatic and "ham it up" in front of their classmates and grown ups. We also used our performances as an opportunity for students to practice projecting their voices and not holding their scripts in front of their faces!

5. Increases Student Focus and Engagement

In order for reader's theatre to be successful, all readers in the group need to be paying attention, ready to read when it's their turn. Nobody wants to be put on the spot when they aren't ready to say their lines.

6. It's Easy and Fun!

OK, so I know that sounds like a weak reason, but really it's not. Who has time to create scenery, costumes and props for a play? I sure don't! Reader's theatre is super easy to implement. You'll also find your students are so excited to perform their script in front of their audience. It's so fun to watch your class take ownership and lead their groups through the performances.

Now that we know why, let's talk about how.

I typically take about a week and a half for our reader's theatre unit. I like to use reader's theatre at the end of the school year (when teaching seems more like crowd control) due to reason number 5 above :) Here's a brief breakdown on how I implement it:


I first start by introducing the drama genre and the characteristics of the genre. I consulted a friend of mine, who is a theatre director at my local high school for a list of characteristics. I was also fortunate to have a student this year who performs in the plays at the local chidren's playhouse, so I let her do most of the talking :)


Then we talk about the difference between a play and reader's theatre. I introduced the four scripts we were going to use and gave a brief synopsis of each. Then I picked names at random for students to choose their parts.


We discuss the importance of fluency and expression and using a loud, sharing voice (level 4 voice in my room). We also talk about making sure you're following along when it's not your turn to speak, so that you are ready when it IS your turn.

DAYS 4-8ish

Then it's time to practice! I assigned each group a corner of the room. We practiced two times a day for 5 days. I also let them read their parts in the script during Read to Self. Gauge your class to see if you need more or fewer days to practice.

A few days before the performance, we sent out invitations. We invited our families to come in to see us perform.
Click HERE if you want a freebie copy of the invite


On the day of the performance, we decided on the order in which the plays would be performed. I just picked student names at random, and if I picked a group member's name, then that whole group would go. I set up the chairs at the front of my classroom. Students picked a chair ahead of time, so that there wouldn't be any confusion or two kids going for the same chair. Before our families came, I pushed all the desks to the back of my classroom and pulled as many chairs as I could for the grown ups. Then my students sat on the floor in front of them.

The trickiest part of implementing reader's theatre... finding reader's theatre scripts that are appropriate for your readers. I've found that most reader's theatre scripts are meant for beginning readers (K-1) who are working on fluency and expression. And the ones that are written at the 2nd-3rd grade reading levels are ridiculously long! I bought a 2-3 grade reader's theatre kit and each script was about 10-15 minutes to perform. Multiply that by the 4-5 groups I have.... #aintnobodygottimeforthat And not only that, but the scripts were super boring.

So last year I decided to write my own!
I love that these scripts take approximately 4-5 minutes to perform, are funny and engaging, and the storylines are relevant to what our students are experiencing and are interested in. You can see all my reader's theatre scripts in my TpT store HERE!

Do you use reader's theatre in your classroom? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below!


When You Teach at the Same School Your Children Attend

I never wanted to be at the same school as my kids. I was always fearful that I would struggle with separating being a mom and being a professional. My son is a typical, "active" boy, and I didn't want any tension between my colleagues and me if/when we needed to have those tough conversations about him.

When he went to kindergarten last year, we were at separate schools. But then our lives changed when my husband got a new job. When we found out we were going to be moving, I also got a new job at a school in the town we were moving to. Then when we found our house, it turned out that our children would be attending my new school. I suddenly realized there was no getting out of this one. We were going to be at the same school this year.

Benefits of being at the same school:

It is so special to see your child interacting with his teachers, classmates, and friends. Very few parents get to see this at all, and I get to see it every day! Here is my boy getting a math award that I never would've been able to see if we didn't go to the same school.
Do you teach at the same school your children attend? Check out this blog posts for tips to make both you and your child(ren)'s experience a positive one.

It's so cute when I'm in the middle of a math lesson and I hear, "Hi Mom!" shouted into my classroom as his class walks by on their way to specials, and then my class will shout "hi" back to him :)

YOU'RE KNOWN AS "_______'S MOM" 
I love getting to know who his friends are! And they're so cute when they come up to ask me if I'm his mom.

When he comes home frantic that he needs 5 boxes of mac and cheese for the food drive by TOMORROW, you can calm Dad down by telling him that the deadline is actually three weeks away. But more than school events, you know the curriculum and the programs your child's teacher uses, so you can better help him/her be successful at school.

Tips for making your experience successful:

Seriously. Get snacks and DO NOT run out! Some of the snacks I keep in my cabinet and fridge are supplies to make PB&J, string cheese, a bag of clementines, a giant box of Goldfish, yogurt, and fruit cups. He's always starving after school, and I really don't want to hear for 30 minutes (or however long I stay after school to work) about how hungry he is. And it's also nice on the days he forgets to bring a snack for snack time because he just takes something from my cabinet.

After his snack, he does his homework and nightly reading at one of the tables in my room. That way, when we get home, we can play.

He sharpens pencils for me, counts good behavior tickets and fills in my PBIS chart, takes books back to the library, delivers things to other classrooms. I keep him busy!

I try not to do this too much, but sometimes he just can't be quiet and I have work to do! I will let him play on my phone, iPad, or even GoNoodle. He has his own GoNoodle account separate from my class's. Here's a little video of him I shared on IG a few weeks ago. It cracks me up every. single. time!

I have meetings 2 days a week after school, so we arranged for a responsible high schooler to meet him at the bus stop on those days and stay with him for an hour or two until I get home. It's also nice to have some quiet time after the meetings to get my work done.

I let her know that we are aware of his "activeness" (see GoNoodle video above), and to please treat me like any other parent. If she has a concern, I want her to tell me. I also work very hard to not discuss my child every time I see his teacher. I want to have a professional, collegial relationship with her, just like I do with the rest of my coworkers.

If you see a student running down the hall, you would probably shout after them to "WALK!" and then move on. If you see your child running down the hall, do the same thing. Don't call him over and give him a 5 minute spiel about how we walk in school. I always ask myself, "If I wasn't working here, would I find out this happened?" If the answer is no, then I leave it alone.

The Verdict

I never thought I'd say this, but I love that my son and I are at the same school! It's like something special that just he and I have together. I love that we drive to school together (even though most days he cries that Dad doesn't take him to school), and that we go home together. We have the same schedule, which is great for breaks, vacation, and days off. And when he forgets to bring his snow boots home, I can run in on the weekends to grab them! I'm going to be sad when he goes to middle school in 4 years!

Do your children go to your school? Leave a comment below and tell me about your experience!


I'm a Third Grade Teacher!!

If you follow me on Instagram, this isn't news to you. But I figured I should probably make this "blog official," seeing as we're 50 days into my school year. <<sarcasm intended>>

Back in July, my husband was offered and accepted a new position as the head principal of a high school of 1,600 students. While this was an amazing opportunity for all of us, it also came with some sad news: I would have to quit my job and we'd have to move. All of these life changes were unfolding right around the TpT conference in Vegas, so I apologize to anyone who was stuck listening to my sob story!! I'm normally not that emotional in real life! HA!

At first, I resigned to the fact I probably wouldn't be teaching this school year. I can't imagine many schools are looking for teachers six weeks before school starts. I had been in my previous position for 10 years, so I had no resume, cover letter, letters of reference, or anything else I'd need to get a new job. But after about 2 weeks of feeling like I had no identity without my classroom, I knew I had to at least try to get a job.

Well, it took about 3 weeks, but I got job! I am teaching third grade at an amazing school in the same district as my husband. I'm still unpacking boxes in my classroom and trying to figure out my new space (hence the lack of a "classroom reveal" blog post this year). But here are a few photos of my new classroom:
So far I'm loving third grade! Although, when people ask me what I teach, I have to make a conscious effort to say "third grade." In fact, it still sounds a little weird coming out of my mouth. And I may have sent my kids out to recess at the wrong time on the first day of school because I was looking at the second grade schedule :)

Hippo Hooray for Third Grade?!

Nope! My blog name is going to be staying the same. I always felt I was a more intermediate second grade teacher, rather than a primary second grade teacher anyway. My content will still be applicable to second grade, but I'll also be able to put a third grade spin on it. I'm really excited to begin blogging again. My new school is a Teacher's College Lab School, so trainers from New York come to my school to coach us and we get a first peek at the new reader's and writer's workshop Units of Study. I am learning SO much about workshop and learning how I can make it my own, and I can't wait to share it all with you.

In the meantime, check out my Pinterest board for third grade! I've invited a few of my third grade blogging friends to pin with me, and we have collected lots of great ideas so far!

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