Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Role-Playing Traditional Stories

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 30, 2017 3:17:00 PM


Reader's Theater, where students perform a written book like a play, is a tried and true way of engaging readers. Guided role-playing is another highly effective way to incorporate dramatic play into your reading lessons!


In guided role-playing, the teacher prepares a role-playing scenario that parallels a situation presented in the book. Students improvise and act based on what they would do in that situation. By being placed into the scene of a book, students learn to empathize and understand the story from the characters' perspectives.

Role-playing can take place before of after an initial reading of the book, but doing it beforehand might help your students act authentically—if they read first, some students might feel tempted to simply mimic the character's actions instead of their own. While students subsume the role of a character in Reader's Theater, the purpose of role-playing is to act in a character's shoes. This increased agency leads to higher interest and more personal investment in reading the book. 



Choose a narrative book like The Little Red Hen from the Story World Real World series. Decide on a role-playing scenario. The scenario should be relevant and not specific to the book—for example, you don't want to ask students to imagine that they're a "little red hen." The following scenarios are an example:

  • Actor A: You love cooking and live in a house with a friend that loves to have fun. One day, you decide that you want to bake bread, but your friend doesn't want to help you. Role-play the conversation you would have with your friend.
  • Actor B: You live in a house with a friend that loves to cook. One day, your friend wants to bake bread and asks for your help, but you just want to have fun instead. Role-play the conversation you would have with your friend.

Have students pair up, with one student playing Actor A and the other playing Actor B. After a few minutes, have them switch partners and switch roles.

Students will be eager to compare their actions to the characters in the book. Furthermore, guided role-playing takes up less time than Reader's Theater—it's the same dramatic fun in a shorter amount of time!


The ideas in this blog post were adapted from Lisa Simon's "'I Wouldn't Choose It, but I Don't Regret Reading It": Scaffolding Students' Engagement with Complex Texts" (2008), which uses guided role-playing with adolescent students. 


Click the image below to download a series highlights about Story World Real World, which contains the book featured in this blog post.

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Topics: Story World, Narrative Text, Reader's Theater, Role-play

Reader's Theater with Fables and Fairy Tales—with FREE download!

Posted by Kathy Crane on Aug 2, 2016 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest post by Kathy Crane, a kindergarten teacher, author, and curriculum developer. If you like what you see here, read her previous guest blog posts and click here to read her education blog

Fables are a great way to engage young readers along their learning-to-read journey. This year, after teaching some of my favorites tales like The Little Red Hen, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and The Three Pigs, I decided to try a new story, The Fox and the Goat. This fun tale offers great teaching opportunities, and was a favorite among my students.  I added to the fable by using The Fox and the Goat Theme Set available at one of my favorite go-to publishers, Hameray Publishing.

In addition to the fable, the set also includes three informational books: Animals Are Clever, Goats on the Goand The Life of a FoxI really enjoyed having the supporting texts to expand the animals and situations in the fable. These supporting nonfiction readings added to my student’s understanding and enjoyment of The Fox and the Goat story. 


To add to the fun of our fabled learning, my students love performing the fables through partner plays. You can download my "Three Pigs: Reader’s Theater or Partner Play," which complements Three Little Pigs from the Story World Real World series, for free at the bottom of this blog post! Please also be sure to check out my store for other reader's theater plays based on classic tales: CLICK HERE!


Kathy Crane holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Reading. A published freelance author of thirteen books, Kathy also develops teaching curriculum and has been a teacher of kindergarten for over two decades. She publishes the blog Kindergarten Kiosk


For more information about the Fables and the Real World series, click on the image below.

Fables and the Real World More Information

To learn more about the Story World Real World Series, which contains the storybook complement to Kathy Crane's Reader's Theater, click on the image to the left below. To download Kathy Crane's FREE "The Three Pigs: A Young Reader's Reader's Theater" guide, click on the image to the right below.  
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Topics: Kindergarten, Download, Fables and the Real World, Reader's Theater

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