Reading in the elementary classroom looks different across the day and across subject areas, while also serving different purposes. Reading is conducted in whole and small groups with a goal to improve comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary with a focus to either inform, persuade, or to entertain. Both whole group and small group reading instruction promotes critical thinking skills, practice synthesizing information, and working in collaboration with others. There are a variety of texts that support the different reading purposes and goals in the classroom, as well as a variety of leveled texts for more targeted instruction. One key instructional tool that addresses all of the above, in addition to promoting flexible grouping, performing in front of an audience as well as self-assessment and reflection, are reader’s theater performances. Through this modality of reading, students engage with text and content in authentic and exciting ways, and become intrinsically motivated to perform well based on the social nature of this reading method. Reader’s Theater is an engaging reading method where one does not memorize a script, but is instead provided appropriate leveled text to improve fluency and enhance comprehension, whilst performing in front of an audience.
The addition of quality reader’s theater scripts to Sierra Expeditionary Learning School’s current book selection, would continue to support readers in invaluable ways, as well as further the reading formats and strategies with which the students currently engage.