Tips for Developing a Readers Theater Script
As the name suggests, Readers Theater is a reading exercise. Students are not expected to memorize their lines! Allow plenty of time to rehearse, and invite students to be creative with the use of intonation and gesture to liven up their part. Props? Costumes? Up to you.Formatting
1. List the title, author and publisher of the book at the top of the page. Underneath, give the script a descriptive title that tells us something about the scene we are about to read.
2. Include the page numbers in the book that the script is adapted from underneath the script title.
3. Make the script easier to read by separating the character names and their lines using the tab function. The characters’ names and their lines should look like two separate columns.Characters
1. Create a list of characters that are in the scene. If there are minor characters that only have one line, evaluate whether they need to be in the scene. Is the character’s presence important? Could another character speak his/her line? Does that line need to be in the scene anyway?
• Include short character descriptions in your list. These can include age, relationship to other characters, and details that are relevant to the scene.
2. Knowing when to add a narrator or “version” of an existing character (for example, Scott 1 and Scott 2) is very important. Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to assign characters.
• Is the story told in the first person or in the third person? Narrators work best if the story is told in the third person. If a story is told in the first person, splitting the main character into two "versions," one that speaks dialogue and one that provides the narration, is useful.
• Are there any characters discussed in the narrative that do not have any actual dialogue? If so, these characters may come to life on stage better if they are given a chance to speak. This may not be possible in all situations, depending on the author’s style of description.
1. What is the focus of the scene? An easy way to figure this out is to identify the conflict in the scene and how it is resolved. This will also give you a clear idea of where the scene should start and end.
2. Use the text! Since this is an adaptation, you should not have to write anything new but feel free to delete any text that seems irrelevant.
3. Sometimes narrative in a story can be overwhelming, especially when read aloud. Make sure to include enough to allow the audience to understand the scene, but it is important not to let the focus of the scene get lost in descriptive narration.
4. If there are natural gestures in the story, include them in parentheses as stage directions. For example, if the line reads “Bob waved at me” you can include this wave as a stage direction by writing “Bob waved at me (Bob waves).”Scripts to Download
Catboy, by Eric Walters.
Dalen & Gole: Scandal in Port Angus, by Mike Deas.
The Mealworm Diaries, by Anna Kerz.
Pigboy, by Vicki Grant. Part of the Orca Currents series.
Ramp Rats, by Liam O'Donnell and Mike Deas. Part of Orca's Graphic Guide Adventures series.
Stuffed, by Eric Walters. Part of the Orca Soundings series.
With thanks to the Chicago Public Library’s Teen Volume Project