Here is a fun nine-character Reader's Theater for your children based on The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires. Reader's Theaters promote reading fluency and speaking fluency. Students have so much fun with them that I think they also promote a love of reading and books. I incorporate the word ALL in this script so that characters with smaller speaking parts still need to pay attention to be ready when they need to read chorally with ALL the other characters in the script.
You may do this in a small reading group, a reading center, or even as an independent free-time read. Sometimes I'll leave the scripts out after we've read and practiced them. Students love to pick them up and find a partner or two and read them again!
Of course, the more the words are read increases the children's ability to acquire a higher reading vocabulary and reading skill level.
Character names are included. Copy on cardstock. Then hole-punch and lace with yarn for a character-name necklace. You may also attach the character name to a long strip of construction paper to make a character-name headband.
Sometimes students might present their Reader's Theater to a class next door, the principal, the custodian...anyone who will listen. Even if not performed, however, I think the Reader's Theater scripts promote enthusiasm for reading.
Children love switching roles, too, I have found!
Feel free to change the script in any way that you would like in order to meet the needs of your classroom.