The leading Reader's Theater materials!  Playbooks® materials have been used by 6 million students nationwide since 2001



Playbooks® are the most popular social-interactive reading enrichment materials in the nation with its patented Roleplay Reader® format of color-coded dialogue text and easier and harder roles in the same story. Playbooks® materials have been making a difference in schools since 2001 and provide the most comprehensive tools for effective Reader's Theater implementation.

Thousands of schools and after-school and summer programs nationwide have purchased Playbooks® and used the role-play reading technique year after year, while positively affecting the reading skills of millions of students.

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What is Reader's Theater?

Reader’s Theater provides an easy-to-implement, fun, and engaging reading enrichment activity in the form of
dramatic texts (scripts/plays/stories) that do not require memorization, props or a stage.
Scripts are written like
plays with character dialogue, but also include narration (like stories) to explain to readers/listeners what’s
happening in the story that the readers can’t hear or see. This narration is what eliminates the needs for props,
stage, or sound effects.
Children read aloud together in small groups with each assuming a different
character role and bringing it to life with verbal and physical expression.

Learning in and through the arts can even help students overcome the obstacles of disadvantaged backgrounds.
Reader’s Theater gives ALL students the opportunity to be creative which keeps them engaged for the entire
reading activity. Putting on a theatrical play can be a tremendous amount of work and preparation for instructors
and students and typically only provides a spotlight for a handful of kids (usually those who already have the
confidence or talent to read or perform in front of large groups). Conversely, Reader’s Theater provides a

balanced platform for ALL students to shine with mostly balanced roles being read and re-read in small non-
threatening groups.

In fact, struggling readers tend to be the best Reader’s Theater performers (when given a role they can read with
accuracy and confidence) as they seem to have a better aptitude for creative and dramatic expression.
Consequently, they typically end up being the biggest stars in this type of activity. Imagine now that you are a
student that once was filled with anxiety at the thought of reading out loud and now you associate your reading
with pride and confidence. Reader's Theater offers a life-changing opportunity for many struggling students in a
way that captivates students’ interest and gives them a legitimate reason and desire to re-read the same text.


Role-play reading in a supportive environment helps to build confidence and self-esteem in children, strengthens
oral communications skills in students of all reading levels, and helps to build or strengthen social/emotional
bonds between members of a group.
When children can read with success in front of their peers, their
confidence and enthusiasm soar, and their reading and communication skills grow at a more rapid pace.

Drama, like poetry, sometimes gets neglected in the literature curriculum, yet it offers an abundance of
opportunities for improved learning. Plays inherently come with built-in strategies to help students read
better. Dramatic text offers opportunities for creativity and expression, and the acting out of story dialogue, even
in a simple reading form, compels readers to work more closely with the text to interpret and project meaning
into the shared reading experience. For these same reasons, Playbooks® also present enhanced opportunities for
learning English as a second language (ESL/ELD).

Although designed to be read aloud like a play, reading a Playbook® is as simple as reading any other story, but
a lot more fun, powerful, and effective. Students find security in having one color assigned to them and seem to
take “ownership” in that color and its associated character. As a result, the stress of reading aloud in front of
peers is greatly reduced, and students are quick to become deeply involved in the reading activity. Rather than
simply decoding words and reciting sentences, readers become enthralled in the story, action, and events that
make up the play. As a result, students come away from reading a Playbook® story with improved
comprehension and retention.


What is Playbooks®?

Playbooks® Reader's Theater stories are unique because each character's dialogue is presented in a different color throughout the story and more importantly, the roles are written at different reading levels. This allows teachers to assign easier roles to younger or struggling students and harder roles to older or more advanced students while they all read the same story together in a small group.

Patented Format

Playbooks® are the ONLY Reader's Theater books that are color coded and multi-level. Playbooks are easier to read and allows teachers to include students of different levels.


Each reader’s dialogue text, not just the name in the margin, appear in a different color, making it easier for students to follow their character roles, quickly see where their part starts and stops and how much they will read, and easily be prepared for their next turn to speak. This also helps to create a sense of ownership and security in their role which leads to increased reading confidence and involvement. Color does not represent the level of the role, however, so that students do not know they've been assigned an easier or harder role. 



Easier and harder roles in the same story help students avoid stumbling in front of their peers, allowing them to read aloud with confidence and accuracy. Playbooks® multi-leveled character roles are edited using a proprietary leveled word dictionary and strict sentence structure guidelines, so students achieve ultimate success and fluency among their peers. We do not simply assess what an author has written to determine what level the text might be; we actually edit and level the roles!

This specialized format is protected under U.S. Patent #7,456,834. Only Playbooks Publishing, Inc. can provide you this ultimate format. Don't settle for lesser copycats

Reader's Theater is widely applicable to a range of educational settings! Our customers include the following types of programs and many more:

K-12 Supplemental Classroom
Title One Programs
Intervention Programs
Gifted and Talented Education Programs
21st Century Community Learning Centers
ASES After-School Programs
School Libraries
Boys & Girls Clubs
After-School Programs
YMCA After-School 
Girl Scouts
Summer School/Camps
Early Childhood Education
ELL/ESL Education
Migrant Education
Special Education
Home School Parents
Parents and Families

Playbooks® In Action

See how we partnered with one group on their after school program. 

Teacher Testimonials 

See what teachers are saying about our training and implementation!