Looking for a fun and purposeful idea to practice reading comprehension and fluency? Reader’s theater is a great way to cover multiple reading standards with your middle grade students. Giving them the opportunity to get lost in a character, read aloud, and take on a different persona for a short period of time really excites my students.
If you are new to the concept, check out this post on how to implement readers theater. I know some teachers are initially hesitant to experiment with new ideas like this, but I promise you this fresh approach to reading and fluency will boost student engagement across the board.
Like all reading activities, the subject matter of the text is important in terms of attracting student interest. When I first discovered reader’s theater, my biggest obstacle was finding scripts that were engaging for my 5th and 6th graders. They can be a finicky bunch, so I am always looking for high-interest books and reading passages that align with their interests.
Because it was so difficult to find lesson plans that captivated my students, I finally decided to write my own reader’s theater scripts that were based on the subtle storylines I watch unfold in middle school hallways every day. This turned out to be the big “unlock” for getting my students engaged with this new type of reading activity.
The good news for you, as a fellow ELA teacher, is that I have now published multiple scripts that will save you an extraordinary amount of time trying to find stories that match middle school interests. I have shared a couple of my favorite creations below.
The Day the Crayons Quit is an awesome read aloud that lets students understand the funny perspectives of crayons. I loved this book so much that I decided to create my own original script that could be used with my 5th and 6th grade classes.
The story follows Brennan, a student who puts minimal effort into his final art project. His apathy eventually upsets his colored pencils, who decide that enough is enough. They give him the ultimatum to put forth more effort and consider their suggestions, or else they will not do their job! ✅ Read Full Description on TPT
Speedy Racer is a reader’s theater script about a boy who learns the hard way that in order to compete, you must practice and be dedicated. This 12-character script is one that will have your students thinking about the kind of person they want to be and who they want to associate with.
This is a great read for your athletes and creative arts performers. You start to see more competitions come up in the middle grades, and this story reinforces the concept of practice to become who you want to be. ✅ Read Full Description on TPT
The School Store tells the story of a boy who tries to duplicate “the “Bulldog Bucks” to purchase items in the school store. My students have had a lot of fun with this one as they get to infer and discuss how it might end for Christian.
Like all my scripts, this one includes a few comprehension activities to work on after your students read through the story. The School Store features three reading comprehension questions, a summary graphic organizer (which can also be used as an interactive notebook page), and a build-your-own word search activity for vocabulary work.
This is a great read for your athletes and creative arts performers. You start to see more competitions come up in the middle grades, and this story reinforces the concept of practicing to become who you want to be. ✅ Read Full Description on TPT
I encourage you to try one of these reader’s theater ideas in your language arts classroom. My all-in-one toolkits can be used in one class period, or you can extend the lesson over a week to give students the chance to really enhance their abilities as fluent readers, responders to text, and summarizers.
Another idea is to try them as a substitute teacher resource. My emergency sub plans always contain a reader’s theater passage with specific instructions on how to utilize it with my different class periods. While the students can get a bit “over-enthusiastic” at times with another adult leading the class, I know that it will keep them focused and engaged, which leads to fewer behavior concerns in my absence.