Lesson plan

Action! Students Create Reader's Theater

Students will have a blast turning a reading passage into a Reader's Theater skit. This lesson teaches them to use dialogue to help readers understand the experiences of different characters.
Need extra help for EL students? Try theCharacters and DialoguePre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try theCharacters and DialoguePre-lesson.

Students will be able to create a script by writing dialogue for a story's characters.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
Act it Out: "Casey at the Bat""Sugar and Spice"ReaderSugar and Spice
  • Explain that DialogueIs the words that characters say.
  • Tell students that dialogue helps the readers understand the actions and thoughts of the characters.
  • Tell students that dialogue in a skit or play looks different than it does in prose or a poem.
  • Explain to students that they are going to use characters' words and actions in a passage to create a skit, or a Reader's Theater script.
(15 minutes)
  • Pass out copies of the Act it Out: "Casey at the Bat" worksheet to each student.
  • Explain to the students that "Casey at the Bat" is a poem, and that this version of the poem is actually a skit.
  • Ask the students to point out the difference between a poem and a skit.
  • Choose nine students to play the characters in the skit. Point out the words at the top of the paper that describe the PropsThat could be used. Explain how some skits, or dramas, can be more elaborate with props, which are objects that help the audience picture the Setting. The props and words of the characters can help us picture the setting and what's happening in the skit or story.
  • Read through the skit, allowing the students to stand or stay seated as they read their lines. It may help the audience if the characters stand and attempt to get into character.
  • Ask the students to describe the setting after they have read the entire script. Ask a few volunteers to explain what the characters were doing and saying in the skit.
(10 minutes)
  • Give each student a copy of the "Sugar and Spice" worksheet.
  • You can place students in pairs to read through the first read of the passage.
  • Tell students that they are going to take the characters' words and actions from the story and create a skit.
  • Once again, explain that the dialogue of the characters in the skit should help the audience understand the setting, thoughts, and actions of the characters.
  • Show them how you can highlight the words that are in parentheses and write them as drama. For example, take the line: "Mindy, I think you're old enough to mix the batter this year." Ask the class which character in the story said that line. They should respond that it was the mom who said it.
  • Show them that when you are creating a skit, the dialogue looks different.
  • When you are creating the skit, the dialogue should look like, "Mom: Mindy I think you're old enough to mix the batter this year."
  • Instruct students to turn the dialogue from the passage into dialogue in a skit.
  • Have students find three pieces of dialogue from the story to convert into dialogue in the skit. Remind them to read through to see if the story sequence is the same in the drama and the story.
  • Call on students to share what they added to the drama.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students convert the remainder of the story into a skit.
  • Ask students to discuss what they have learned about the characters, based on their words and actions. What conclusions can be made about the characters?

Enrichment:Advanced students can create their own skit, explaining how the characters' words help create the setting and help the audience understand what is happening in the story.

Support:Struggling students can be partnered with more advanced students to help them with comprehending the story and writing the skit.

(15 minutes)
  • Check for understanding and monitor students' creation of "Sugar and Spice" in drama form. Make sure the dialogue is written in the correct format and that the skit follows the same storyline as the original story.
  • Choose a few students to act out their skits and ask the class to explain the actions and what they learned about the characters.
(10 minutes)
  • Remind students that characters' thoughts and actions help us understand what is happening in the story. Students will choose a book of their choice to create a skit from one part of the book. They should write the dialogue in the correct format.

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