Fluency is not just the ability to read, but to read with accuracy, speed and expression! Learners will need to develop some acting skills in order to achieve this.

Readers Theater is a great way to get students to practice passages, focus on pacing, and incorporate emotions into reading out loud.  Try theses activities to make your classroom or program space a stage.



Materials: Slips of paper with sentences. Emotion cards. Whiteboards and markers. 2 decks of playing cards. Enthusiasm!

Step 1: Each participant will receive a paper with  a phrase and an emotion card to tell them how to read the phrase. They will also receive a playing card

If you need help finding phrases, check out ReadingTheater.com’s activity PDF.

Step 2: The participants will practice saying their phrases. The instructor will pull 8 playing cards. Three of the students with matching cards will serve as judges. The other 5 will compete in round one.

Step 3: Introduce Round One and select 3 judges. Give each judge a whiteboard and marker. Instruct the judges that they will be evaluating contestants in three categories: Accuracy, Pacing and Emotion and The Tony. The judges will assign scores from 1-5, 5 being the best.

Step 4: Participants compete in round 1: Accuracy. Each contestant will read their phrase and attempt to say each word accurately. The highest scoring contestant will compete in the final round. Those who do score high should continue to practice, as they could be called into a  later round. .

Step 5: The instructor pulls five more playing cards. Participants compete in round 2, attempting to read their phrase with good Pacing. Judges will assign scores. The top scorer will compete in the final round.

Sep 6: The Instructor pulls 5 more cards. These participants will read their phrase according to their emotion card. The judges assign scores. The top scorer moves on to the final round.

Step 7: The final round has three competitors. They will attempt to read their words with Accuracy, Pacing and Emotion to win The Tony. Treat The Tony winner to something nice, such as a free book or a leadership role in class or program.


Materials: Speech to text application, voice recording application.

Participants who have trouble with reading with fluency should practice reading words they generate. Use and language experience to help students write, read and perform or record their own slam poem or Moth Radio story.

Step 1: Have the participant tell the instructor or tutor a story that involves emotion. use Writing Forward to help generate ideas for writing or offer participants prompts. As the participant tell the story, use a voice to text program such as Speechnotes to record the participant. Help the participant edit their story or poem.

Step 2: Participants will read the text of the story or poem to the instructor. The instructor will help the participant with pronunciation.

Step 3: The participant will practice reading their story/poem for accuracy. Once the participant is saying each word correctly and following punctuation, the participant will practice reading at a good pace. Lastly, the participant will practice reading with emotion. The participant should record themselves for every reading and listen to themselves read. Their goal is for the recording to sound like they are just talking.

Step 4: When participants feel confident, they can sign up to share their story or slam poem with the class. The instructor can make this sharing time a part of the daily or weekly routine.

For Adults: This skill can easily be applied to practicing how to introduce themselves at a job interview and talk about past work experiences. Adults may also want to practice other practical things such as explaining a medical condition to a doctor, giving directions, or giving a tour of their neighborhood.


These activities are very transferable to real-life skills. It also empowers the learner to practice and strive for self-improvement. This is perfect for those with autism or Asperger’s who may be high functioning but struggling with emoting. Those participants should be given clear direction or contextual phrases within the clues on what emotions to use when, and how inflection helps listeners read emotions.


This may be a very frustrating activity for those with speech impediments.

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