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Curriculum Details for
Benchmark Reader's Theater Scripts and Fluency Skills Set

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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
Benchmark Reader's Theater Scripts and Fluency Skills Set
Publication Date: 2005
Grade Level: 1–8 and above
Content Focus: Literacy/Language Arts
Costs: $325 - $4,695
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Benchmark Education Company
629 Fifth Avenue
Pelham, NY, 10803
877-236-2465
www.benchmarkeducation.com/readers-theat
er/readers-theater.html

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Design Summary

Reader’s Theater can be used both during the school day and after school. The Reader’s Theater Scripts and the Fluency Skills Set are designed to be used together, although they can be used separately as well. The goals of the program are to build oral fluency and expression, develop silent reading and tracking skills, improve listening skills, grow confidence and self-esteem, and learn academic vocabulary and content.  The program uses fiction and content-related scripts, providing a fun way for students to engage with reading and improve their skills.  Students also absorb and retain content knowledge, as they accurately portray the characters in the scripts. Content in the scripts links to many other content areas, including science, math, social studies, and a range of literary genres: tall tales, folktales, myths and legends, fairy tales, and fables.

The scripts are multi-leveled, allowing students with varying reading levels to work collaboratively while reading parts from the same script.  Curriculum is available in many formats, including individual scripts and complete programs.  Each script comes with a detailed Teacher’s Guide.  Each complete program also includes a Teacher’s Handbook or Overview with classroom management tips, assessment rubrics, and other lesson-planning aids.  Both forms contain sections pertaining to English Language Learners.

Costs and Staff Training

Reader’s Theater can be purchased in many different forms. Individual titles cost approximately $25 for a set of six scripts (for titles with six or fewer characters) and  $45 for a set of 12 scripts (for titles with seven or more characters). Theme sets of 12 titles range from $325 - $399. Complete Programs for various themes can range between $1,425 and $2,395 and the Master Collection of 168 titles is $4,695.  Fluency Skills Sets, which includes reader’s theater titles along with fluency kits that offer multiple copies of 32 leveled reading passages, are specifically designed for afterschool use. They cost between $895 and $3,095, depending on grade level.
 
Training is not required.  Professional development is available, and can be purchased along with the Complete Programs or Master Collection for an additional cost of $3,000.

Staff Qualifications

Formal teaching experience is not required to implement Reader’s Theater. Content expert review suggests that less experienced instructors working with struggling readers might benefit from additional training and support to identify students’ specific skill needs. Practitioner expert review suggests that anyone can use the scripts effectively with students.

Standards Alignment

  • National: None specified
  • State: None specified

Research Base

The program is based on research that found oral reading, with partners, to have a positive impact on students’ reading skills and fluency.

Evaluation Details

Readers’ Theater was evaluated by Dr. Timothy Rasinski, who found the program to have a positive impact on students’ reading skills.  There have been other outside evaluations as well. The results of all such evaluations can be found at: www.benchmarkeducation.com.

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

Strengths
  • Presents students with a different avenue for learning how to read. Theater format effective in afterschool setting.
  • Engages readers who may be difficult to reach.
  • Builds fluency
  • Easy to implement.
  • Provides both opportunities for students to read to each other and to get feedback from an adult.
Challenges
  • Oral reading is the only type of reading and fluency practice offered with this curriculum.


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