Reader’s Theater Trading Card Lesson Plan

Subject: English-Language Arts

Grade Level: 4th-5th

Note: Plan on this lesson taking several days – to write, practice, & perform.


Students will be able to write a Reader’s Theater.

Students will be able to perform/read their character’s lines with expression in front of an audience.

Anticipatory Set:

  • Show a few copies of different Reader’s Theater texts.
  • Brainstorm a list of noticings about Reader’s Theater texts.


  • Explain that a Reader’s Theater is similar to a play but that the characters do not memorize their lines – they read from the script.  However, they must read with expression.
  • Teach the format of a Reader’s Theater:
    • Typically, there is a narrator.
    • Characters’ names are written with a colon after and the characters’ lines are written after that – no quotation marks.
    • When reading their lines, they only read what comes after the colon…they do not read the name of the character.
    • Stage directions are typically written in parenthesis.

Guided Practice:

  • Pass out one sports trading card to each student.
  • Group students with different sports players together.
  • Have students work together to come up with a topic for their Reader’s Theater.  The characters in the Reader’s Theater are the players on the trading cards.

Independent Practice:

  • Students will work in groups to write a Reader’s Theater with their sports trading card players as the characters.
  • Each student must write/type the lines of his/her player on the script.
  • Students practice their Reader’s Theater performance several times in their group.


  • Have the groups perform their Reader’s Theater in front of the class.

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