Growing In Independence and Fluency: Lights! Camera! Action!

Lynn Mitcham



As students are beginning to break the reading code and discover the possibilities of literature, it is important to nurture this growing interest with reading success.  Students can find reading success through repeated readings.  Repeated readings will make the words in the passage become sight words and the student will continue to grow as a reader.  Students will become more expressive readers.  In order to make repeated readings more interesting, each small group of students will practice a "script" for reader's theater to perform for the class at the end of the week.



Low- commitment costumes

Scripts (found on this website:

Speed reading checklist (attached)

Class set of timers



1. Say: We are going to do something super fun this week!  We are going to have a play on Friday!  If that makes you nervous, don't be.  Our play isn't going to be scary.  Your audience is going to be just your classmates and we are going to practice your script so many times you will know it like the back of your hand! When we practice it over and over it will help us to be wonderful fluent readers!


2. I am going to split you up into small groups and then we will talk about which script you want to perform on Friday.  (The teacher will divide groups into small groups of 2, 3, or 4 students.  These groups will need to be flexible depending on roles and parts available.)


3. I am going to put a list of available plays on the board. (The teacher should narrow the options on the website down to a select few titles that are of particular interest to her classroom).  Your group needs to come up with a group name and then send a representative up to the board to sign your group up for which act you want to perform in our literature play.  Our goal is to become great readers.  This week we are going to work on our expression.  Let me show you some examples of expression.  (On Board) "We are going to the mall after class!" (teacher reads with excitement) I see the exclamation point so I knew I had to say it with excitement.  For this sentence: "What are you going to buy?" I see the question mark so I know to read it as a question.  (The teacher reads the question).  We have to make our voice go up and down when we read with expression.  We want to read it like we would talk.  On Board: "I think I am going to buy a dress." (teacher uses expression) If we don't use expression then we will get bored reading it and your audience will get bored listening to you. 


4. Ok, we are going to jump right in!  Today we are going to practice our lines by doing "line snaps."  Line snaps are when actors and actresses practice saying their lines without worrying about costumes or where you are supposed to stand or any of those important things.  Right now we are just going to worry about our words.  I am passing out a sheet of paper.  This paper is going to be something you fill out for your buddy.  Who can read me what it says? That is right! The top part says "Time after 1st read, 2nd read, 3rd read."  What on earth?  I want you to let your buddy read his part all the way through and I want you to time him using your timer.  Then I want you to write down his time after each run through.   You will probably see the time get to be less and less!  Somebody different read the bottom part to me.  Yes, that says "I noticed my partner read.. (teacher rereads sheet)."  What does that mean?  It means that you are going to checkmark those blanks if you noticed your partner remembered more words, or was reading faster (teacher pretends to run fast in place) smoother, that. Means. Not. Choppy. That. Means. Your. Partner. Read. His. Words. Without. Pausing. Or. S-o-u-n-d-i-n-g t-h-e w-o-r-d-s o-u-t.  I want you to check "with expression" if your partner was more expressive and dramatic when he read (teacher should say this part with ample expression and drama.)  I am going to walk around the room to help your group if you need it.


5. As the teacher walks around the room she will have students orally summarize their group's passage.  She will also make notes about each child's fluency and errors. 


6. For the remainder of the week the teacher will continue to allot time for the students to practice the reader's theater scripts and prepare for the production.  The students will maintain interest if the teacher has them read their lines in various scenarios.  Practice reading with costumes on (dress rehearsal), practice reading with stage directions, practice performing in front of one other group, practice performing in front of a favorite neighboring teacher, etc.  Throughout the week the students will continue to use the attached form to assess the fluency gains of their peers.  The teacher will review these as an assessment and compare her own notes on each child from the beginning of the reader's theater cycle to the fluency gains as demonstrated by the performance.  On Friday the students will have a grand performance for the other members of the class.  On the following Monday, the cycle of reader's theater can begin again.  J


7. The next week's reader's theater will be a student written sequel of the play.  The groups can trade their sequels and have a different group perform their written sequel.  Then the group that wrote the sequel can help/interact with the group that is performing it. 






 Speed Reading Record:

Name:_________________________            Date:___________


     - After 1st read            _______

     - After 2nd read           _______

     - After 3rd read            _______


-Partner Check Sheet for students to assess their partner's fluency:

 When I listened to my partner read:

                                                         After 2nd           After 3rd

1. Remembered more words         _______          _______

2. Read faster                                      _______         _______

3. Read smoother                               _______         _______

4. Read with expression                   _______        _______



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