Early Adolescents' Perceptions of their Engagement and Comprehension Using Reader's Theatre
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Reader's Theater has been proven effective in boosting engagement and fostering comprehension. However, most Reader's Theater studies reveal the benefits of using Reader's Theater with younger grades in elementary settings and/or for using with below-level readers. Additionally, while there is substantial research supporting how Reader's Theater strengthens fluency, there is less tied to direct comprehension development. This action research explored the impact of Reader's Theater (a type of performance reading) on the perceptions of reading comprehension and engagement of third to eighth graders with a small group of mostly homogenous middle-class participants. The research was conducted in a home during a weeklong vacation from school in six 90-minute sessions of Reader's Theater. Multiple scripts were utilized with each being read two or more times. The researcher created and conducted a post-reading survey to capture students' perceptions of their gains in comprehension. He also developed and administered a customized engagement instrument. Qualitative and quantitative data were assembled using both surveys. Results indicate that students' perceptions of their engagement and comprehension were positively impacted.
M.S.E. Reading Specialist