Social Studies Readers Theater

By Mildred Knight Laughlin, Peggy Tubbs Black, and Margery Kirby Loberg
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In a Readers Theater presentation, students read from scripts and inspire the audience to imagine the setting, characterization, and acion. Since no stage movement is involved, practice sessions can be few and devoted to developing oral reading skills.

To use Readers Theater with social studies, students read a historical novel, then select one part of it to script. Most children are not familiar enough with history to write original plays, but they can interpret scenes created by skilled authors who have carefully researched the era to be presented.

Student Scripting Tips:

  • Begin the narrator's first speech by identifying the book from which the scene was taken and the author.
  • Have the narrator introduce and descibe each character.
  • The narrator gives the setting and important action that precedes the scene.
  • Add to the script a description of tone of voice, gestures, or facial expressions that will aid the reader in interpreting the lines. Put them in parentheses after the character's name.
  • The narrator closes the presentation with information that ties the scene to events to come. Don't give too much information – leave your audience wanting to read the book!
Reader's Tips:

  • Speak to the audience rather than to other readers.
  • Focus on the speaker.
  • If two scenes are presented, change places for the second scene.

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