Reader’s Theatre

This is an excellent assessment of students’ critical thinking and analysis skills as they create and perform an adaptation of a text.  This activity works best with groups as a jigsaw-type assignment where you can cover multiple texts without requiring the entire class to read each one.  Each group covers one text and presents it to the class.

Grade Level/Age: 10th grade (15-16 years)

Curriculum Addressed: The focus of the curriculum collaboration, critical thinking, literary analysis, and communication.

Process Goals: Students adapt a text (poem, short story, myth, etc.) into a dramatic performance.

Materials: Any source could be adapted for use with this activity.

Desired Understandings: Students will continue to home their literary analysis skills as they adapt a text into a dramatic performance.  Adaptations will communicate the text’s central narrative and themes to an audience.


  1. Assign students a text to read.  
  2. After reading, students discuss and analyze key components of the text: characters, conflicts, rising action, climax, resolution, and themes.  
  3. In groups, students create a dramatic performance based on the text’s key components.  Performances are abridged for time, but must communicate enough information so the audience understands the text’s central narrative components.
  4. Students will present their dramatic adaptations (or record them in iMovie) to the class.  A written response and explanation of their dramatic adaption is often a required component, too.


Standard 1: Oral Expression and Listening

  1. Content that is gathered carefully and organized well successfully influences an audience.
  2. Effectively operating in small and large groups to accomplish a goal requires active listening.

Standard 2: Reading for All Purposes

  1. Literary and historical influences determine the meaning of traditional and contemporary literary texts. 

Standard 3:  Writing and Composition

  1. Literary or narrative genres feature a variety of stylistic devices to engage or entertain an audience.
  2. Organizational writing patterns inform or persuade an audience.

Assessment:  I use two rubrics to evaluate students’ performances – a performance rubric and our English Department’s AP writing rubric.  The performance rubric assesses students’ collaboration and performance, and the writing rubric assesses the written component explaining the groups’ process and dramatic choices in their adaptation. 

Adaptions/Accommodations:  I expect all students to do their best in completing the assignment.  I will assign students to groups according to individual needs, but all students contribute to the performance in some capacity.