Reader’s Theater is reading made fun—and effective!


Why do children love reading Piggy and Gerald? They can make up silly voices for Piggy and the crew. It’s theatrical!
Why do children love reading Dogman and Captain Underpants? They can get into the drama of fear, silliness, excitement, courage. It’s theatrical!
Why do children love comic books? They can lose themselves in a world that feels like a movie. It’s theatrical!


What is Reader’s Theater?
Reader’s Theater is dramatic story (a play script) that people read together, having no goal of a production. It is usually used in classrooms, where students are assigned roles, break up into groups for their short piece of theater, then read the script together several times. Students will become more confident and comfortable each time they read it. Because they are reading dramatic text for a specific character, with a specific want, conflict, complications, and resolution, they will learn to use expression and interpret lines in a different (sometimes easier) way than in reading prose or essays out loud. Students may read only within their small groups, or a teacher may have students occassionally read their piece of theater to the classroom.

Why use Reader’s Theater?
When children learn to read, they learn by reading out loud. As they get older, they whisper, and eventually, they read more in their heads, often feeling self-consious to read aloud. But reading out loud promotes different skills than reading in one’s head. Reader’s Theater allows children the chance to read aloud for just that purpose—reading aloud. Reading aloud is fun when you can see the action of a story and give voice to the expressions of characters. Kids know this. Teens know this. Adults know this too! So why not help children learn to read with fluency and expression, by giving them simple, fun (and sometimes, yes, educational!) scripts to work with?

Do I need theaterical experience to use Reader’s Theater in the classroom?
No! The plays you find in Tara Meddaugh’s Reader’s Theater can be staged, as any production. So if you’re a director or a teacher who wants to stage a production or coach actors for a competition, enjoy! But when used as Reader’s Theater, the goal is not to memorize, block, or stage these pieces. As a teacher, in Reader’s Theater, you don’t need to have a drama degree, or even any experience in theater. The goal is simply for students to read together, out loud. The dramatic form makes the practice of reading out loud fun and exciting for children. Reader’s Theater may even fall under your Common Core Curriculum. Check out Playbook’s Reader’s Theater document on how Reader’s Theater aligns with the Common Core Curriculum.

What are some benefits to Reader’s Theater?

  • Reader’s Theater promotes fluency in readers of any age!

  • Reader’s Theater builds confidence in readers!

  • Reader’s Theater helps readers read out loud with expression!

  • Reader’s Theater gives all readers, from all walks of life, the chance to experience drama!

  • Reader’s Theater can increase interest in reading!

  • Reader’s Theater can spark creativity!

  • Reader’s Theater encourages empathy and emotional growth!

  • Reader’s Theater can connect students to each other!

  • All of the Reader’s Theater Scripts you will find on this website are written by a professional playwright with an MFA in Dramatic Writing, who has also worked with children and teens!

Click here to see Tara Meddaugh’s Reader’s Theater Scripts. From history to science, early readers, animals, fairy tales, famous females, sibling squabbles, relatable and fantastical adventures, and more—more reader’s theater scripts will be available soon! Sign up for her newsletter to be the first to know when scripts are available.