Curriculum Details for
Benchmark Reader's Theater Scripts and Fluency Skills Set
Content Expert Reviewer
Katharine Adams is currently a doctoral student in Applied Child Development at Tufts University. She has taught at the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts for over a decade. She has worked on the development and design of literacy curricula including RAVE-O and the Benchmark Word Detectives Program. She has also developed and implemented an afterschool and summer program for at-risk readers. In addition, Katharine has taught in elementary schools and holds a Masters in teaching with an emphasis in special needs.
- Reader’s Theater Scripts cover oral reading fluency and reading comprehension.
- Fluency Skills Set offers more in depth coverage of these topics.
- Scripts seem to be effective at engaging students with the stories.
- Oral reading fluency
- Reading comprehension
- How to work independently
- Team work, cooperation, and communication skills
- Peer teaching and learning
Alignment to Standards
While Fluency Skills Set does not have specific standards, the curriculum does reflect current trends in scientifically based fluency instruction.
- Fluency Skills Set includes both self-check and informal teacher assessments.
- Formal assessments, similar to a regular reading test, help determine if a student is on track, but does not articulate specific problem areas.
- Fairly structured, the content is entirely defined.
- Easy to implement.
- Largely teacher-directed.
- In addition to a regular Teachers Guide, there is also a Teachers Guide designed specifically for using Reader’s Theater with English Language Learners. This guide explicitly breaks down skills involved.
Addressing Diverse Student Needs
- Teachers can be creative with how students use the scripts. Depending on the needs and interests of students, teachers could come up with many different ways to perform the plays.
- The curriculum includes ideas for creative extension activities.
- Multileveled scripts allow students who are at different reading levels to participate.
Learning Styles Addressed
- The curriculum is available for a range of reading levels, and is fairly appropriate to the given ages. Students need to already have some ability to read.
- Movement/spatial learning: Students get up and move around while reading lines.
- Interpersonal learning: Both scripts and fluency sets require students to work together, read to each other, and perform together.
- Artistic learning: Acting and performing a play.
- Teacher’s guide for English Language Learners (ELL).
- Scripts incorporate diverse stories and characters, such as with the Myths and Legends Set.
Strengths and Challenges
Challenges and Drawbacks
- Easy to implement, feasible for an afterschool program to be able to store and keep track of materials.
- Engaging for students.
- Provides both opportunities for students to read to each other and to get feedback from an adult.
- Theater format effective in afterschool setting.
- Oral reading is the only type of reading and fluency practice offered with this curriculum.