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5+ High School Readers Theater Resources

publication date: Mar 31, 2014
author/source: Carol Montgomery

ReadersTheaterAllYearBugDo you have trouble finding Readers Theater scripts appropriate for high school students?  You're not alone!  Readers Theater author, Carol Montgomery, gets that question periodically.  In this informal article you'll discover her answers to the question, "Do you know of any resources for high school Readers Theater scripts?  I have found my students LOVE Readers Theater, but I'm having trouble finding suitable scripts."


NOTE:  Below is Carol's informal email answer to a high school Reading and English teacher.

5+ High School Readers Theater Resources

Carol Montgomery ©2014


Thanks for writing!  I'm so sorry for the lack of appropriate high school Readers Theater scripts on Readers Theater All Year's site.  I have focused on K-8th grade, but some high school teachers use our site (e.g., ELL, remedial, those performing for younger audiences...).

Here are a few ideas to chew on:

1.  Use traditional plays read Readers Theater style.  You may be able to get an audio/video of a play to familiarize the students with a work first.  Then, you may read it chorally, allowing students to decide on parts they'd like to volunteer for.  Finally, you could attempt the play or just one scene.  Where would you find scripts?  Check the library, used scripts online (e.g., via Amazon book reviews), drama teachers, English teachers–even in other schools.  There may be forums online to help, too.

Unfortunately, I've ordered script books online and been seriously disappointed.  Perhaps you could "partner" with some other teachers or set up a school script library?  (If you have a school librarian ask for her help.)  My niece is a high school freshman and is doing one of Agatha Christie's plays this year.  Some students read a Shakespeare play Readers Theater style.

2. Adapt literature–Due to copyright issues I choose to not write Readers Theater scripts based on published literature unless it's in the public domain (e.g., Ben Franklin's autobiography).  (IF I had legal permission from a publisher I would consider it.) However, you or your class could learn to adapt Readers Theater from literature. 

Small groups of students or partners could be assigned chapters or sections of a piece of literature and adapt it to Readers Theater.  Or, give them a set of short stories that contain a lot of dialogue to adapt. Or, study a NON-FICTION topic in each group and have their presentation be Readers Theater.  Ideally, they should be able to present to their class or another class.  The performance motivates students.  And, the applause encourages them to do more.

3. Check online for Readers Theater or Radio Theater done professionally onstage.  See what they have done in the past.  You may find buried treasure!  Here's one link you may use to track what they have done the past 13 years:  Readers Theater Repertory–"Small stories with big ideas at their heart."

4.  Google "adult Readers Theater."  Retired adults often find Readers Theater is a fun activity (e.g., senior centers).  You may find a list of plays, but I don't know if they'd be appropriate.  It looks like this site has some links at the bottom of the page:  Welcome to KellyTown–"Five minutes of fun every day."

5.  Use Readers Theater All Year's scripts–Readability Grades 4-8 I have adapted some of our scripts to make them more difficult.  But, the way the Flesch-Kincaide Readability computation works makes it difficult to get above a middle school level on readability since it's based on # of syllables and # of words in a sentence.  Some teachers actually WANT the readability level to be below grade level. Still, if you happen to be a paying member of the Script Buffet Club I can try to adjust a script in the Script Buffet to include more difficult vocabulary.  I just don't think I could focus on doing only high school scripts, so it may be too slow for your current needs.

Hope this helps a little.  There's no easy answer for your problem.  But, you could collect quite a few scripts over time.  You'll just have to do a little sleuthing and connecting with others.  :)

Keep in touch!  And, let me know what you decide to do, please.  Since I have high school teachers in our caring community perhaps we could start a resource page or Pinterest board or something for you all?  (The problem is teachers are soooooooo busy–as you well know.)  What do you think?


Cheering you on,

Carol Montgomery

Readers Theater All Year(TM)


 BONUS:  Since the teacher already mentioned the site below, I didn't include it in my email response.  But, YOU may like it.  :)  (I'll add more to the list if I discover anything worth sharing.)

6.  Use Rhyming Readers Theater.  I haven't reviewed ANY of these scripts, but I've heard of high school teachers using them successfully.  There are a few testimonies on her site, Required Rhyming (dot) com.

Readers Theater All Year™ LLC builds leaders and creators for positive influence through an inexpensive, easy, flexible system.  Readers Theater All Year™ LLC curriculum services provides a caring community for using and creating Readers Theater scripts for families, classrooms, homeschools, camps, and drama clubs.

Praise from Teachers

...Keep doing what you are doing.  There are not enough quality scripts available for children and teens.  So many are inappropriate from a parent's perspective.  As a teacher I want to also build character and integrity while I teach a subject.  Why can't drama build up, inspire and be thought provoking?...Anyway, keep doing what you're doing...we need all the help we can get!
Jen H., Drama teacher

> ...I have been teaching for 35 years. RT has been part of my education journey for the majority of that time. Initially my experience with it was as a performance genre in the Drama Curriculum. Now I use it across the curriculum - a wonderful high motivation strategy in the language program - particularly reading - and so much more as you would know. I was drawn to your 'community' by the idea of leadership... I think what you're doing is wonderful..."
Graham B. Former primary teacher (now a Visual Art and Drama specialist)

Readers Theater All Year is the most comprehensive collection of Readers Theater scripts and resources I have found on the internet!...Thank you Carol for your leadership and vision and for making Readers Theater so accessible for teachers and parents.
Daniel Fiore, Elementary teacher/author What They Have Taught Me

I found the free readers theater online scripts, teaching tips, and curriculum teleseminars at Readers Theater All Year very inspirational to me. I used the Twelve Days of Christmas...Vacation script in my ESOL classes before Christmas break and my students all enjoyed it..
Lily T. Teacher (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

"> ..We did Squanto's Squash for the family on Thanksgiving and [my sons] participated and loved it. I am so excited about making this a major part of homeschooling. What a great way to learn!
Bethany P. Homeschooling Mom

> our script "The Earth Day Hen and Friends" I've used this! The kids love it. Thank you for sharing...It's just right for all levels in the class...Your free scripts are wonderful!...They learn so much from drama and reader's theatre...I see the shy ones gain confidence as they read. Fluency and prosody increases with reader's theatre...
Angela D., 3rd grade teacher

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