Literacy 7-12

Systems Change
Literacy 7-12 > Strategies > Acting/Role Play

Acting/Role Play


Physically acting out a text or enacting major themes from texts enhances reading comprehension, particularly as texts become more complex. As learners progress into disciplinary specific texts, it can be helpful to create role play activities where they must comprehend, recall, and carefully reflect on how to represent the characters, concepts, and events from a text.

Use It in the Classroom

Starting at 16:07, watch how these teachers introduce theatre and acting activities around Shakespeare. Through role play and physicalization of Emotions along with the text, students learn to read between the lines to understand the emotional arcs and dramatic techniques used in the play.

  • Acting and role play can be used at the adolescent level to engage students in Critical Literacy. Students can use dramatic responses to explore important and complex themes that may emerge from texts. After reading, students can create situations, such as a town hall meeting, for the characters to discuss major themes within the text. Students can compose and perform original dialogue in which the characters discuss content beyond the text.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how Mindshow, a virtual reality program, provides a way to create and share animated movies. The program supplies various characters, backgrounds, and props to choose from before players use their own physical movements and facial expressions to animate the scene.

  • Developers can create ways, such as short films, narrated still images, and audio, for students to share dramatic pieces they create based on texts they have read. When students develop scripts for such projects, they also practice Composition skills, Syntax, and incorporate new Vocabulary. Simulated role play online, particularly within social media, may enhance students' use of Argumentative Reasoning.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy