Reader's Theater

Katrin Beinroth & Kim Leimer, International Charter School, Pawtucket, RI


Program Background Unit Plan Lesson Plan Teaching the Lesson


Lesson Topic: Making mental images to support reading comprehension (day two of the unit)


Standards to Be Addressed

New England Common Assessment Program Reading Grade Level Expectations (June 2004 draft)


Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century


Guiding Questions


Content Area Skills and Concepts


Language Skills


Thinking/Study Skills




Motivation (10 minutes)

Whole Group Activity

The teacher asks why it is important for readers to focus on personality traits. As the students respond, the teacher supplies evidence from a text the group has read previously, showing that personality traits contribute to the plot. She notes examples from this text giving clues about the character抯 personality (titles, topic sentences, words, foreshadowing clues, etc.)


Teaching/Learning Activities (1 hour)

Whole Group Activity

The teacher reads aloud from the Baker抯 Dozen script, which is on the overhead. She asks students to note words and phrases that provide evidence for the characters moods and motivations. After reading two to three pages, the teacher asks the students to summarize what they have learned so far about the characters mood and actions in the script


Individual Activity

Students reread their scripts silently and continue to identify words and phrases that highlight the characters personality traits and mood. Then each student sketches his/her mental image of one of the characters in the script.


Small Group Activity

In small groups, students present their sketches, describing the character抯 personality and mood and giving examples from the text to support their interpretations. The teacher circulates among the students to provide language support.


Whole Group Activity

Three or four students present their sketches to the class, sharing insights into the character抯 actions using textual evidence of character traits. The teacher leads a whole class discussion about how the baker changed during the play and what he learned. The teacher represents insights from this discussion on a Venn diagram.


Students discuss the portrayal of St. Nicholas and the celebration of St. Nicholas Day in the play, and compare that to other cultural traditions that they know.


Review: Now that students have developed a deeper understanding of the text, they reread their scripts aloud in their groups, this time with appropriate expression.


Assessment of sketches: Are they reasonable representations of the characters?

Informal observation of students during group work: Do the students appear to understand the characters actions, traits, and motivations? Do they read with appropriate expression?


Homework: Students interview relatives or a neighbor from a country that is not the United States, or from a minority culture within the United States, about traditional celebrations and characters associated with the celebrations. Students prepare to report their findings to the class.