What is Reader's Theater? It is often defined by what it is not. It has no memorizing, acting, props, costumes, or sets. Children use their voices, facial expressions, and hand gestures to interpret their characters.
Here are some tips for a smooth performance:
- Arrange the readers in a row or semicircle facing the audience. They may all stand or they may all sit. If the readers stand, they may take a step forward while reading and step back when finished. If they are sitting, they may stand while reading and sit when finished.
- If there are two narrators, put one on each side of the stage.
- Readers may hold their scripts, or the scripts may be placed on music stands.
- A child may be assigned to read more than one role. It is best if the two characters do not have consecutive lines.
- Review words that are difficult to pronounce and define words that the readers may not understand.
- Allow time for the players to read the script silently. Provide pens and markers for them to highlight their lines and make "stage" notes, such as "gruff voice." If time permits, let them read the script aloud before the performance. It is best if the readers know their lines well enough to look at the audience at least part of the time.
- Ask one player to introduce the title and author of the story. Instruct all players to freeze until the audience is quiet and ready to listen.
When the reading is finished, the readers will freeze for a long moment and then they all bow together.