Drama & Reading Comprehension


Have you ever read a scientific paper? Did you feel the need to reread it a couple more times? Did you feel lost? Did it take you some time to understand the terms and jargons used? This experience happens to people when they are not familiar with a scientific paper, hence being a challenge for them. Similarly, many students do face similar experiences, where they find it a challenge to comprehend a story that they had just read. They may be able to read the passage fluently, but would not be able to tell you much about the passage after reading. So how can a student with reading comprehension difficulties find new ways to engage with texts so they he/she can understand it better? One particular approach would be, to introduce drama. Research has shown that drama has a positive impact on children with reading comprehension difficulties. Drama helps children to explore the stories they have read, it also helps students to sequence the story and offer various perspectives. It provides a unique way for students to engage with a text in a physical way by using movements and actions, while learning to understand the story’s’ ideas. Here are three drama activities that you can try out with your child or student!


Reader’s Theatre


Reader’s Theatre is a dramatic presentation where students read from script based on the characters assigned to them. The focus is for a student to read the script in an expressive voice with the use of facial expressions and gestures. By doing this, it makes the story come “alive”, as it provides an opportunity for the student to experience the story using their whole body and voice. Therefore, with the use of vivid elements, it makes comprehending the story more meaningful for the students.




Hot-Seating can be used to deepen the understanding of the characters and situations in the story. It requires students to think deeper in order to explore alternative outcomes. In hot seating, a student is assigned a character from the story, he/she then sits in the Hot-Seat and is questioned in role. The group will question the character about his/her background, motivation, purpose and behaviour. The student in the Hot-Seat has to spontaneously answer the questions that he/she may not have considered before. This activity engages the students as it allows them to recount a specific event, build a deeper understanding of the character and explore multiple perspectives/experiences related to the story.


Role Play


Role Play provides an opportunity for a child to step into the character’s shoes and re-enact the story. It challenges the child to develop a deeper understanding of a variety of viewpoints whilst working on their movements and language skills. Role Play can be used before or after reading. For example, after reading a story, students are given specific roles based on the story. The students would then be required to act out the scenes, where they would have to behave like the character. Research has shown that by re-enacting stories, it helps children to understand the main aspects of the plot and characters in a sequential order.


Drama Activities can add an element of fun to reading comprehension. With drama activities, it provides an opportunity for students to engage with text in an interactive manner. By doing this, it helps to develops students’ comprehension skills in a fun and non-pressurising manner.


In Dyslexia Association of Singapore, there is the Speech & Drama Arts programme that caters to 3 different age ranges and is being offered in Bedok and Bishan Learning Centre. If you think your child would benefit from a different way of learning and at the same time have fun expressing himself, do check out our classes!


Click here for more information on the Speech and Drama Arts programme.


Written by: Amrit Kaur Gill,  Senior Educational Therapist, and Speech and Drama Arts Teacher