Monday, January 15, 2018

How to Use Reader's Theaters in Middle School

One of my favorite ways to engage my students in historical content is through the use of reader's theaters. Reader's theaters are small skits that students read aloud either in small groups or to the whole class. I use them in social studies and they are commonly used in ELA. I'd love to see more geared towards science content as well! Here's how I use reader's theaters with my middle school students:

The Prep

Before using a reader's theater skit, I determine if there's any vocabulary words that my students need to understand. If so, I teach them the key words first.
The Reader's Theater
I've used reader's theaters both to introduce and reinforce content. That's the beauty of this type of activity - each teacher has full discretion over when to use it! I always use them as a whole class activity. I choose some students (usually volunteers) to play the roles and provide each student with a script. Since I use many reader's theaters throughout the year, I ensure that every student has the opportunity to be part of at least one skit. Usually there's plenty of roles for students to become historical figures multiple times throughout the year. As the small group reads and acts out the skit, the rest of the class watches and listens quietly. Since the skits are short, engaging and informative, the students LOVE to watch their peers!
The Assessment
After the reader's theater ends, I hold a brief class discussion to asses student understanding of the content. If you purchase the reader's theaters from my TpT store, there are 5 discussion questions already included. I use that time to address questions, take student comments and connect the skit to the concepts we've been learning in class.
From start to finish, the whole process usually takes 20 - 30 minutes depending upon the amount of time needed during the prep phase. Overall, they are an efficient and engaging way to reinforce my classroom content!
If you're interested in trying one out in your classroom for free, click HERE to download the Declaration of Independence Reader's Theater Freebie from my TpT store.
To see all the Reader's Theaters currently offered in The Teacher's Prep store, click HERE! I'm adding to the collection all the time.
Happy Teaching!

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