There are hundreds of different ideas on how to help your students develop their reading comprehension. No matter what technique you choose, the goal is to be able to check your students’ understanding of a text. Here’s a list of the top 31 reading comprehension activities that we find to be most varied and beneficial for developing numerous areas of comprehension. So, without further adieu, get exploring to find a few new approaches to try with your class!
1. Roll & Chat Dice
Who would’ve thought that die could be used to assess understanding? This activity relies on just two dies to accomplish just that! Once your students have finished their class reader, have them work in partners or small groups to roll dice and answer the corresponding questions provided. Best of all- you can adapt the questions for any grade level or subject!
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
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2. WANTED Poster
Here’s an arty pursuit to tie into your next reading comprehension session! Creating a wanted poster for a character in the story that your kids are reading will highlight their understanding of that character. Simply have them draw a picture and add some character traits, and a few actions taken by their characters to demonstrate their knowledge.
Learn More: Education.com
3. Story Cheeseburger
Get your kiddos revved up about reading comprehensions by turning this process into a burger-building expedition! To do so, have your students link each part of a hamburger with a different element of a story! This will help you see if they’ve grasped the plot as well as the other elements, or if there are a few gaps in their understanding.
Learn More: Unique Teaching Resources
4. Reading Comprehension Worksheets
Nothing like a good ol’ worksheet to ring a concept home! Here’s a plethora of worksheets that include reading passages with comprehension questions that you can quickly print out. They’re useful for teaching different reading strategies and don’t take up too much of your planning and prep time!
Learn More: K5 Learning
5. Make a Timeline
Test your students’ understanding by having them map out a timeline. By doing so, they’ll exhibit their knowledge of sequential events and be able to effectively relay the most important facts from their reading passages.
Learn more: Education.com
6. Yellow Brick Road Retelling
This is an excellent strategy to get your kids involved in active reading. All that’s required is for them to break a passage or story apart piece by piece. Using a piece of poster board, images, sticky notes, and markers, help your learners separate key information in terms of outlining various elements. In the end, they should be able to use the board to retell the chosen tale in a cohesive manner!
Learn More: Just Cara Carroll
7. Anticipation Guide
This is a perfect pre-reading activity to get your students to better understand the reading process in more detail. They’ll need to make some predictions about the story by sharing if they agree or disagree with the statements provided in the anticipation guide. We suggest that you return to this guide after reading to reveal whether or not their predictions were accurate!
Learn More: Reading Rockets
8. Question Ball
This after-reading activity will surely increase student engagement in your class! By taking an inflatable beach ball and writing the 5 W’s on each colored stripe: who, what, when, where, and why- your students can throw the ball around the class and answer questions about the story. Whichever question stem is touching their right hand when they catch the ball can be the start of your crafted question.
Learn More: Coffee Cups and Crayons
9. Lego Retelling
This idea is most suited for use with younger learners who may not have started reading and writing journeys in full yet. Have them retell a story by building lego images that represent different parts of the book. They can then visually piece together scenes as they describe what they’ve built.
Learn More: The Educators Pin On It
10. Story Telling Bracelet
Here’s a simple tactile tool that could be just what your kiddos need to help them retell stories. This teaching procedure involves your kids creating a beaded bracelet that assigns each colored bead to a particular part of a text. For example, yellow for the setting, green for the characters, and blue for the conflict. As you ask them to retell the story, they can touch each bead in an attempt to prompt themselves to recall some of the most important elements of the plot!
Learn More: Growing Book By Book
11. Reading Cheat Sheets
Need to help your students understand critical reading skills? Use these cheat sheets to provide them with expert details and things to bear in mind while they read a text. Simply print out and laminate the cheat sheets or bookmarks and use them to prompt your kiddos to think or discuss different elements of the text.
Learn More: Research Parent
12. Vocabulary Skits
Improving your students’ vocabulary skills will have a positive impact on their reading comprehension. That’s why we’ve chosen this task for your students to turn selected vocabulary words into short skits. Playing charades and guessing which vocabulary word their classmates are acting out will spice up the often-dry task of vocabulary learning and improve reading comprehension that much faster!
Learn More: YouTube
13. Painting the Scene
Visualizing is a fantastic strategy that can help your students create mental pictures to better recall story elements. Ask your students to close their eyes so that they can’t refer to the illustrations as you read a descriptive book aloud. Then, have them open their eyes and share what they saw before drawing their vivid mental images on a pair of pre-cut paper sunglasses.
Learn More: Raise the Bar Reading
14. Diary Entries from Characters
Time to get in character! After reading, task your learners with writing a diary entry from the point of view of one of the characters. Thinking like their storybook characters will nurture empathy and emotional intelligence, as well as show you the traits they’ve picked up on and can recall with ease, whilst also providing insight into which areas may need a little more revision.
Learn More: Twinkl
15. Plotting With Mind Maps
Doodles take on a new purpose with this next idea! Ask your students to create mind maps that connect the dots between characters, themes, and events. This endeavor offers a fresh angle for grasping the narrative’s intricate storyline and is an ideal complement to verbal discussion and traditional book reports.
Learn More: Template.net
16. Expanding Vocabulary with the ‘Word of the Day’
Building vocabulary will definitely help your learners comprehend difficult text. Pick a word from your current class text each day and have your kiddos analyze and learn its definition. Then, the next time this word appears in one of their passages, they’ll already recognize it and know its meaning!
Learn More: Lizard Learning
17. Cause-and-Effect Diagrams
This activity is great for utilization either during or after a reading session. Simply have your little detectives search for cause-and-effect relationships within their text before recording the examples in the provided diagram. You can also adapt this approach by providing them with the cause and asking them to find the effect and vice versa.
Learn More: Mrs. Warner’s Learning Community
18. Storyboarding the Text
This activity will intrigue your up-and-coming movie directors! Your students can exhibit their understanding of a narrative by laying out key events on a storyboard. This visually captivating task will help you facilitate an intuitive grasp of the plot sequence whilst highlighting the most important parts of a story by getting your learners to develop detailed pictures and short captions.
Learn More: Movavi
19. Reciprocal Teaching
Reciprocal teaching is all about activating peer power! Have your students break into small groups and take turns adopting teacher-student roles. The ‘teachers’ will guide discussions and ask probing questions about the text, while the students respond with what they know before switching roles.
Learn More: Smore
20. Quiz Creation
Test makers, take your positions! Challenge your students to design quizzes about any given text. To up the stakes, their quiz should be complete with multiple-choice, true/false, and short-answer questions. Talk about a fun role reversal that lets them show off their grasp of the material while reinforcing key takeaways.
Learn More: Canva
21. Peek Into The Future
Psychic reading or educated guess anyone? Before diving into a new text, have your students jot down their predictions on sticky notes and paste them on an anchor chart that displays a crystal ball. Later, get them to compare these forecasts to the actual outcomes.
Learn More: Raise the Bar Reading
22. Puppet Show Retelling
Budding theater producers this one’s for you! Encourage your students to reenact pivotal scenes using puppets. This role play activity will amplify their grasp of the characters, storylines, and sequences alike.
Learn More: YouTube
23. Writing Alternate Endings
What if is a powerful question. Once you’ve finished a class book, urge your students to rewrite the ending or even draft a sequel. Alternate realities are more than just creative exercises; they offer a deep dive into understanding characters and their motivations. Plus, they have the potential to ignite discussions on how a single twist can alter the narrative landscape whilst working to reinforce original content and better bind it to memory.
Learn More: Teach Starter
24. Character Interviews
In this activity, one student will role play a storybook character, and the other will act as a journalist. Conducting fictional interviews to explore the psyche and motivations of characters in a newsroom-like setting is bound to get your kiddos more familiar with the content that they’ve read.
Learn More: YouTube
25. Breaking Down Themes
Theme hunters, let’s go! Assign your students the task of dissecting the major themes of a story- discovering recurring motifs and underlying messages along the way. They’ll need to provide text evidence to support their claims and display their comprehension!
Learn More: Easy Teacher Worksheets
26. Annotation Walk
Annotating is an awesome strategy that can help your kiddos actively engage with a text as they read. By using symbols like an exclamation mark to note a surprising element, or a magnifying glass to highlight something that they want to know more about, your learners can note and track their thoughts on sticky notes! Once complete, hang posters with the symbols around your classroom and have them walk around; adding their annotations onto each display. In the end, spend time dissecting the elements together.
Learn More: Comprehensible Classroom
27. Text-to-Text Connections
Your students are bound to read tons of different stories and texts throughout the school year. This activity will prompt them to recall texts they’ve previously read and make connections with texts that they’re currently reading. They might compare characters, themes, or conflicts that appeared across texts; tapping into past learning and revising like never before!
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
28. Flash Fiction
Flash fiction is a strategy that tasks your students with telling a story with not too much detail, but just enough to keep their classmates engaged. These micro-stories will have maximum impact as they display their ability to explore themes and character development in a shortened version of the plot!
Learn More: YouTube
29. Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers are such a great tool that we find teachers using them across all subject areas! Here’s a plethora of options to incorporate with different reading skills. From Venn diagrams to 5-finger summaries- there’s something that each and every one of your students can use when dissecting their next fiction and nonfiction books!
Learn More: First Grade Blue Skies
30. Newspaper Reporting
Newspaper reporting is a fun activity that allows your students to act as investigative journalists! Assign your students the task of crafting newspaper reports about significant events from a text. This real-world task will hone their summarizing skills, sharpen their focus on key points, and elucidate their importance.
Learn More: YouTube
31. Book Club Discussions
Why not start a book club in your classroom? Divide your students into small groups for book club-like discussions. Here, they can swap interpretations, address lingering questions, and delve deeper into the text’s mysteries.
Learn More: ThoughtCo
These are just a few of the best ways to make reading more accessible for your learners. The majority of these activities can be expanded upon to meet the specific needs of your readers, whether that be sequencing events or providing a detailed analysis of character.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are comprehension activities?
Comprehension activities are activities or games that can be used to help your students to demonstrate what they know about a text. This usually covers but is not limited to, setting, plot, and character. Comprehension activities can be expanded to include other ideas too, like the meaning of the text, and can go beyond the details included within the text, such as in terms of contextual information surrounding the creation of the book.
What is the best way to teach comprehension?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive “best” way to teach comprehension to your kids, as each student is different and will respond to different activities. However, one thing that will definitely work is to make comprehension an enjoyable process. Try using the activities above to help with this and avoid simply completing tests or quizzes, as these will not make your student engaged.
How can I improve my comprehension?
Try to go beyond simple ideas of comprehension. Your basic comprehension of a text should include the key events (or plot), the setting (where and when the story happens), and characters (the people or things that the text is about). You should try to expand beyond this by thinking about the meaning of the text. What message was the writer trying to put across? Reading comprehension goes beyond the words on the page – you need to think about the writer’s craft, too.
What are the 3 main types of reading strategies?
The key reading strategies that you will likely encounter are scanning, skimming, and detailed reading. Scanning involves looking for specific information in a text, such as a keyword or detail. Skimming is slightly more in-depth as it is about understanding the main idea of a text by reading small chunks of the passage. Detailed reading is the slowest reading process but is the one that can help you get the most information from a text. Using this last strategy, your kids will understand approximately 80% of the text. Even so, each of these strategies is vital for teaching your students how to read effectively for information.