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30 Brilliant Reading Activities That Make Learning Irresistible

Learning to read can be a blast!

Examples of reading activities including name recognition soup and popper syllable division

Reading in the classroom can be so much fun. We all work hard to plan robust literacy instruction, but who said we couldn’t have a little fun with it? Check out these engaging and enriching reading activities, ranging from preschool to upper elementary and beyond. We guarantee both you and your students will appreciate these outside-the-box ideas and games to help readers practice and strengthen their literacy skills.

Reading Activities for Preschoolers

1. sing songs and nursery rhymes.

Showing animals featured in different popular nursery rhymes, like a cow jumping over the moon as reading activities

Rhyming is part of phonological awareness, which is one of the essential building blocks of early literacy . Nursery rhymes are entertaining to sing and learn, while they encourage students to listen closely to the sounds in words. English-language learners will also benefit from the extra vocabulary practice and repetition.

Learn more: 30 Popular English Nursery Rhymes for Kids in English at Bilingual Kidspot

2. Read Aloud

Book cover of See You Later, Alligator by Sally Hopgood

This tried and true activity never gets old, and it’s one of the most valuable activities we can do with kids. With so many wonderful picks for the preschool audience, you’ll make your students laugh and help them learn valuable lessons about the world and their lives.

3. Goldfish crackers alphabet tracing

Goldfish crackers outline big letters A and B an example of reading activities

Effective and delicious! These printables will get preschoolers excited about learning how to form their letters while they get ready for snack time too.

Learn more: Goldfish crackers alphabet tracing at Totschooling

4. Dot the syllables

Dot marker creating marks to indicate how many syllables there are in words with their corresponding picture

Understanding that words are made up of syllables is an important concept for early readers to grasp. Preschoolers can have some fun practicing identifying and marking how many syllables there are in familiar words.

Learn more: Syllable worksheets – dot the syllables at This Reading Mama

5. Alphabet play dough

Plastic letter shapes and a bin of different color playdough, with letters ABC in pink playdough as an example

Play dough is an ever-popular activity for the younger set. Encourage letter recognition with this hands-on activity that will keep them endlessly entertained while they learn, a win-win!

Learn more: Alphabet playdough – alphabet for starters at No Time for Flash Cards

6. Name recognition soup

The name

Building names is one of our favorite early reading activities, and the possibilities are endless ! This alphabet soup version will be a hit with your littlest learners who need a little extra practice.

Learn more: Name Recognition Soup at Play Teach Repeat

Reading Activities for Kindergartners

7. alphabet swat letter game.

Flower-shaped flyswatter next to capital letters on sticky notes

Letter recognition is a very important skill for setting up early readers for success. Students will adore swatting letters to practice automaticity and identifying letter names at lightning speed.

Learn more: Alphabet SWAT! Tabletop Version at The Kindergarten Connection

8. Sight word fluency practice

worksheet to practice the sight word

With the right touch, sight words can be super fun . These printables make teaching them a breeze.

Learn more: Sight Word Fluency Practice at Natalie Lynn Kindergarten

9. Fish and build CVC words game

magnets with letters attached spelling the word

We love this creative way to practice CVC words. Mastering CVC word blending is an important kindergarten literacy skill and students will want to do this one again and again.

Learn more: Fish and Build CVC Word Game at Planning Playtime

10. Beginning sounds mail sort and song

pictures of items like the moon, a bat, and a mouse on the covers of pretend letters ready to be sent, as an example of reading activities

Who doesn’t love sending and receiving mail? This beginning sound activity is perfect for practicing hearing initial sounds while pretending to be a mail delivery person. The rhyming song is a fun little bonus!

Learn more: Beginning Sounds Mail Sort and Song at Growing Book by Book

11. Picture sorts

Pictures with beginning blends

This picture-sorting activity for hearing sounds can foster vocabulary development too, making it double the fun! With a little guidance, students can practice new and familiar words while working on distinguishing sounds in words, like beginning blends.

Learn more: 5 Simple Vocabulary Activities for Kindergarten at Sweet for Kindergarten

12. Snowflake phoneme segmentation

finger moving a snowflake from sky into one of the a blank sound spaces, as an example of reading activities

No matter the season, this hands-on activity that practices segmenting phonemes is sure to be a hit. Students drop a snowflake for every sound they hear in different words.

Learn more: Snowflake Segmentation Printable Mat at Fantastic Fun and Learning

Reading Activities for First Graders

13. find the fish.

This may be our favorite game for its versatility and ease of prep. Check out these suggestions from Susan Jones (the second half of the video focuses on literacy) for how to reinforce important literacy skills. Students search for a hidden fish behind words, letters, or picture cards. Great for practicing sight words, letter identification or sounds, decoding skills, and phoneme isolation.

Learn more: 10 Skills To Play With the Game Find the Fish at Susan Jones Teaching

14. Picture the Character

This comprehension activity is both fun and informative for first graders. Encouraging readers to use simple pictures and words to think about a character from a beloved book is a great way to boost comprehension skills. It’s always a good idea to get them started early thinking critically about books!

Learn more: Comprehension Activities for Your First Grader at Reading Rockets. Find the Picture the Character organizer on the list of student center activities at the Florida Center for Reading Research.

15. Magic E wand

wand with a

Learning the magic E is a very important first-grade reading skill and takes some practice. We love this fun activity to reinforce the idea that the “e” at the end of a one-syllable word changes the vowel to its long sound. Students will love to use “magic” to change these sounds back and forth.

Learn more: Magic E Wand at Playdough to Plato

16. Watch a phonics music video

These videos from a talented husband-and-wife duo will make tricky phonics and spelling rules especially memorable. Students will request these super-catchy and fun tunes over and over again, and you might just find yourself singing along too.

Learn more: Mrs. Siravo’s YouTube Channel at YouTube

17. Echo reading

As students become more proficient in decoding, it’s also important to focus on their fluency skills. Echo reading, or repeating what someone else has read, is an effective strategy to increase fluency. Check out this video from Reading Rockets to see echo reading, as well as partner reading and repeated reading, in action. All great ways to boost fluency.

Learn more: Fluency: Activities for Your First Grader at Reading Rockets

18. Decodable texts

Three different passages with decodable text and a box of crayons

Decodable texts help students put the pieces together and apply what they are learning. There are so many great resources out there these days , making it a highly effective activity you can differentiate for any student.

Learn more: Kindergarten and 1st-grade Reading Activities at Literacy With Aylin Claahsen

Reading Activities for Second Graders

19. reader’s theater.

If you’re looking for a fluency-boosting activity students will love, reader’s theater is a fabulous choice. With many repeated readings and plenty of opportunities for working on expression, reading a script is a high-value activity that will engage just about any reader. It can also be adapted based on the reading level and specific needs of your students.

Learn more: Reader’s Theater at Reading Rockets

20. Learn the six syllable types

Four categories of syllables - open, closed, magic e, and vowel team, with words underneath them on a blue poster, as an example of reading activities

Understanding the six different types of syllables is an important part of explicit phonics instruction and helps readers decode unknown words. By the end of second grade, students should be familiar with all six. These types of syllable sorts are fun, effective ways to review and informally assess whether students are grasping the concept.

Learn more: How and Why To Teach the Six Syllable Types at Mrs. Winter’s Bliss

21. Book Clubs

A graphic organizer for pages to be read, a book club guide, crayons and sticky notes

While the idea of a book club might sound daunting, they can be so valuable for newly independent readers. We love this how-to guide for making the most of book clubs for your students. Plus, check out our favorite chapter books for second graders for some extra inspiration!

Learn more: Getting Started With Book Clubs at Two Little Birds Teaching

22. Word hunt

Word hunt worksheet with blank spaces to write words, a pencil, and a book lying open

Finding specific word patterns in books and passages is one of our favorite go-to activities. Connecting word work to real text is an effective way to reinforce new phonics concepts and make them more meaningful for students.

Learn more: How To Choose Word Work Activities That Are Actually Effective at Learning at the Primary Pod

23. Fact or opinion football

Two worksheets with footballs going through a goal posts and word cards with an example of a fact

Read statements and decide if they are facts or opinions. Get it right and score a field goal!

Learn more: Fact or Opinion Football at Florida Center for Reading Research

24. Popper syllable division

blue bubble popper with a whiteboard and black dry-erase marker, word cards, and the word

Kids just can’t get enough of these poppers and they add so much value in the classroom. Practice syllable division, another important decoding and spelling skill, by pushing down one popper for each syllable you hear in the word. Then, write the word syllable by syllable.

Reading Activities for Third Graders and Up

25. book trailer.

Book trailers are one of our all-time favorite reading activities for older students. With instant buy-in and engagement, this fun assignment can also serve as a valuable tool for assessing comprehension.

Learn more: Book Trailer at Literacy Is Everything

26. Spin a suffix

spinner with different suffixes and a recording sheet

Understanding morphology, or the study of the structure of words, becomes increasingly important as students read more advanced text. Use the suffix spinner to create new words by adding a suffix to the end of a word.

Learn more: Morphology Activities for Grades 4-5 at Teaching With Jennifer Findley

27. Newsela

dashboard example from newsela website

Discover engaging nonfiction news articles with varying degrees of difficulty at Newsela. You can sign up for a free account for access to so much content and resources for assessing and getting the most out of the news stories.

Learn more: Newsela

28. Creative reading task cards

comprehension question task cards relating to character

Boost comprehension and spark creativity by asking engaging and original questions about stories.

Learn more: Creative Reading Task Cards at The Secondary English Coffee Shop

29. Read aloud

Book cover of When I see Blue by Lily Bailey

Reading aloud, even to middle and high schoolers, is so important that we just had to include it on our list twice. Talking about books is essential at any age, and we guarantee that with the right books, your students will love listening to stories. Reading aloud can even help reduce anxiety .

Learn more: 8 of the Best Middle Grade Books to Read Aloud at Book Riot

30. Explore genres

Many different genres and their definitions written on different color paper under the heading of "What We're Reading"

Use a chalkboard to keep track of who in your classroom is reading what genre. Once students become more proficient and are reading more advanced material, the possibilities for exploring different types of genres increase tenfold .

Learn more: Teaching Reading Genres at Raise the Bar Reading

More Reading Activities

Fantastic Reading Fluency Activities for Young Readers

Fun Phonics Activities and Games for Early Readers

Unique Reading Comprehension Activities Your Students Will Love

Kinestic Reading Activities to Get Kids Up and Moving

What are some of your favorite reading activities? Come and share your ideas in our  We Are Teachers HELPLINE group  on Facebook.

Discover a variety of fun reading activities for all ages, including reading aloud, phonics games, comprehension lessons, and much more!

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Kinesthetic Reading Activites

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These ideas give active reading a whole new meaning. Continue Reading

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Literacy Ideas

13 Fun Reading Activities for Any Book

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Whether you walk into a classroom in Asia, North America or Europe, you will almost certainly see teachers and students building their understanding of the world through a dedicated daily reading session full of great reading activities.

Books allow students an opportunity to be informed, entertained or escape as they comprehend fiction and non-fiction texts against their understanding of the world, their personal insights, and opinions and finally compare those texts to others.

Whilst you may have a wealth of books in your school library, developing fresh and engaging ways to study literature can often be challenging.  So today, we will explore 25 proven activities that can be applied to any book and at any age level.

These reading activities to improve reading comprehension are easy to follow and suitable for most age groups within an elementary/junior high school level.

125 Text Response ACTIVITIES, Games, Projects for ANY BOOK

Reading Activities | GUIDED READING ACTIVITIES | 13 Fun Reading Activities for Any Book | literacyideas.com

This massive collection of ☀️ READING ACTIVITIES☀️ covers all essential reading skills for elementary/primary students. NO PREP REQUIRED! Works with all text and media types.

Thousands of teachers have adopted this as a GO-TO RESOURCE for independent and group tasks.

A COLLECTION OF FUN READING ACTIVITIES

A lifetime tale in pictures reading task.

Draw the main character from a book you have recently read.  Show them as a baby, middle-aged and an older person.

Underneath each picture, write what you think they might be doing at that point in their life, and explain why they may be doing so.

For example, if you drew Harry Potter as a baby, he might cast spells on his mum to feed him lots of yummy food.

Post-reading activities like this are accessible for all age groups to adapt their skill level and text style.

If you want to learn more about characters, read our complete guide here.

Reading Activities | Slide58 | 13 Fun Reading Activities for Any Book | literacyideas.com

TEXT TO SELF-READING TASK

Based upon a book you have just read, share a  story about yourself related to an event or character in the book.

It is probably best done in the form of a written recount. Link your experience to no more than four situations that occurred within the text.

Text to self is an excellent opportunity for students to become introspective about the content they read and compare it to their own life experiences. 

This activity is appealing to teenagers more so than juniors .

IT’S IN THE INSTRUCTIONS READING TASK

From a book you have just read, select either a critical object or creature and create a user manual or a guide explaining how to care for it.

Ensure you use any vital information learnt from the book and any other information you consider essential.

If you are writing a user manual for an object, remember to focus on using it correctly and taking care of it.

If you are writing a user guide for an animal or creature, focus on keeping it alive and healthy as well as information that explains how to keep it happy and under control if necessary.

reading-activities-for-students

Dear Diary, READING TASK

Place yourself in the shoes of one of the characters you have just read about and write a diary entry of a critical moment from the story.

Try to choose a moment in the story where the character has plenty of interaction and emotion to share in a diary entry.

Your diary entry should be around a page long and contain information you learned from the book when the character was in that specific place and time.

Remember, when writing a diary entry, you are writing it from a first-person perspective. It is usually but not always written in the present tense.

Diary writing has been a very popular activity throughout time, but social media tools such as Facebook and blogging have in some ways changed this.

Mapping it all out, READING TASK

How do you make reading lessons fun? This reading activity answers that question confidently.

Have a go at drawing a map of one of the places from the text you have just read. See how much detail you can include, and be sure to discuss your map with another reader so you can compare and add more if necessary.

Take some time and effort to ensure your map appeals to the same audience the book aims at.

All good maps should contain the following BOLTS elements.

B – Bolts

O – Orientation

L – Legend

S – Scale

reading-activities-for-students

Express Yourself READING TASK

Using an iPad or a digital camera, make faces of the emotions the main characters would have gone through in your book and take photos of them. 

Put them together in a document on your computer or device and explain the emotion below the image and when the character would have felt this way.

This is an excellent opportunity to use some creative direction for this task.

Be sure to play around with the images, filters and graphical styling available.

Travel Agent READING TASK

Think of yourselves as a group of travel assistants whose job is to promote a  city of your choice from the text you have been reading.

As a group, you need to develop a concept map of all the exciting things that happen in your city and then present it to the class.

Don’t forget all of the exciting things such as theatres, restaurants, sports, adventure activities, entertainment and much more…

If you are a little short on details of the location of your story, do some research if it was an actual location or just get creative and make up some locations and tourist attractions based on what you read.

reading-activities-for-students

You’re Hired READING TASK

Select a character from a book and consider what might be an excellent job for them. You can choose something entirely suitable such as a security guard job for Superman or a more oddball approach, such as a pastry chef.

Either way, you will have to write a letter from this character’s perspective and apply for a position.

Be sure to explain why your character would be a great employee and what special skills they would possess to make them ideal for the role. Sell your character by explaining all the great attributes they possess.

What’s the Status? READING TASK

Create a Facebook page for your character with some status updates about what they have been up to.

Include some pictures and ensure your status updates are relevant to the character and the story.

Around 3 – 4 status updates with mages should give an overall picture of the character.

Use your status updates to explore what your character does for a job, leisure time, places they might go on vacation and the like.

Reading Activities | Slide118 1 | 13 Fun Reading Activities for Any Book | literacyideas.com

Bubbles and Clouds READING TASK

Using speech bubbles and pictures of the characters, draw a conversation between two characters from the story you have read.

Remember, thought is drawn as a cloud, and a spoken statement is drawn as a  bubble.

Be sure to look at some comics or graphic novels for inspiration and insights.

This activity is usually best done on pen and paper, but numerous digital apps and tools will allow you to make this a reality through technology.

Amazing Artifacts READING TASK

An artifact is an object that has some significance or meaning behind it. Sometimes, an artefact might even have a very important story behind it.  I am sure you have a favorite toy, or your parents have a particular item in the house that they would consider an important artifact.

For today’s task, you will select five artifacts from the text you have been reading and explain what makes them significant or essential.

They don’t all have to be super important to the story, but I am sure that at least a couple played a significant role.

Be sure to draw a picture of the artifact and if necessary, label it.

Reading Activities | Slide105 1 | 13 Fun Reading Activities for Any Book | literacyideas.com

FREE READING ACTIVITIES RESOURCE TO DOWNLOAD

12 Reading RESPONSE TASK CARDS FOR STUDENTS -  DOWNLOAD NOW

Thinking Differently READING TASK

Choose three important events from the text and explain how you would have handled them differently from the characters in the story.

Explain how it may have changed the story’s outcome in either a minor or significant way.

Be insightful here and think of the cause and effect.  Sometimes your smallest action can have a significant impact on others.

Popplet Mind Mapping Task

Popplet is a mind mapping tool that allows you to connect ideas together using images, text and drawings.

From a text, you have recently read, create a family tree or network diagram that explains the relationship the characters have with each other.

Some may be father and son, husband and wife or even arch enemies.

Try and lay it out so it is easy to follow.

reading-activities-for-students

You Have Three Wishes READING TASK

A genie lands at the midpoint of the story you have just read and grants the two main characters three wishes.

What do they wish for and why?

Finally, would their wishes have changed anything about the story?  How so?

Again think about the cause and effect relationship and how this may have altered the path of the book you have been reading.

A COMPLETE DIGITAL READING UNIT FOR STUDENTS

Reading Activities | Digital Reading activities 1 | 13 Fun Reading Activities for Any Book | literacyideas.com

Over 30 engaging activities for students to complete BEFORE, DURING and AFTER reading ANY BOOK

  • Compatible with all devices and digital platforms, including GOOGLE CLASSROOM.
  • Fun, Engaging, Open-Ended INDEPENDENT tasks.
  • 20+ 5-Star Ratings ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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15 Guided Reading Activities and Strategies for Teachers

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Written by Victoria Hegwood

Use Prodigy to level up your student's learning experience at no cost!

  • Teaching Strategies

Key Elements of Guided Reading Activity

Why use guided reading, teacher’s role in guided reading, 15 guided reading activities, 1. prodigy english, 2. graphic organizer bundle, 3. create a thesaurus or dictionary, 4. cartography, 5. comic strip it, 7. write a poem, 8. alternative to rotating reading stations, 9. independent reading time log, 10. character interview, 11. guided reading picture ladders, 12. character social media profiles, 13. review the story, 14. newspaper report, 15. diary entry, unlocking your child’s potential with prodigy.

Finding activities that both teach students and keep them engaged can be difficult. However, guided reading activities can be a great way to support student reading development in a fun way. 

In these small-group sessions, students are grouped based on their reading ability and provided with targeted instruction to improve their decoding, word work and comprehension skills.

This article will provide 15 effective guided reading activities. We’ll also discuss the key elements of making this strategy successful. 

What is your role in the guided reading lesson plan? Why does guided reading work? We’ll answer all those questions and more. 

Let’s get started!

A teacher reading a book to a group of attentive children in a classroom

While guided reading activities can look very different from classroom to classroom, there are a few common elements. These include:

  • Book introduction: Before students begin reading, they are given instructions that set the purpose for reading and provide background knowledge or vocabulary needed to understand the reading book.
  • Reading of a new text: Teachers listen and observe students as they read the text independently or in small groups, providing guidance and support as needed.
  • Post-reading discussion: Reading teachers and students engage in a discussion about the text, focusing on comprehension and analysis of the content.
  • Follow-up activities: Opportunities are then provided for students to practice and apply what they have learned during the guided reading lesson. This might include writing responses, completing graphic organizers or engaging in further research and exploration related to the text.

Guided reading isn’t a new strategy on the teaching scene. It’s been around for quite a while and has been thoroughly researched.  

Fountas and Pinnell (1996) showed that guided reading is an effective way to develop students' reading proficiency. This happens by providing a structured and supportive learning environment where students can practice their reading skills with the guidance of a teacher.

The purpose of guided reading is to help students develop critical reading skills such as decoding, fluency, segmenting and comprehension. These skills are able to flourish through small group instruction, scaffolding and feedback from teachers. 

Guided reading also allows teachers to target the specific needs of each student per their grade level. You will be better able to provide each student with the exact support they need to improve their reading skills.

So what exactly is your role when doing a guided reading activity?

Your role in guided reading activities is to facilitate more than it is to teach.

Some teachers also like doing whole-class guided reading activities. Particularly at the beginning of the year, this strategy can teach students what is expected of them during these activities. 

By selecting quality literature, you can support student learning of high-frequency words, digraphs and other phonics skills.                  

Here are some practical ways that you can facilitate during guided reading.

Before Reading

  • Activate prior knowledge of the topic
  • Encourage student predictions
  • Bring to attention relevant text layout, punctuation, chapter headings, illustrations, index or glossary
  • Clearly articulate the learning intention (i.e. what reading strategy students will focus on to help them read the text)

During Reading

  • Use running records and comprehension questions to monitor student progress and assess their understanding of the text
  • Assist students to monitor meaning using phonic, semantic, contextual and grammatical knowledge
  • Confirm students’ problem-solving attempts and successes
  • Give timely and specific teaching points to help students achieve the lesson focus

After Reading

  • Engage students in discussion about the text, including themes and ideas
  • Summarize the text and reviewing key concepts or vocabulary
  • Plan next steps for students' learning based on their performance

Now that you are familiar with this strategy, we’ll outline 15 effective guided reading activities for a whole group or individual instruction that you can put into your lesson plan today.

Prodigy English is a guided reading activity designed to support students' decoding and word work skills. This online game can be set up to teach a specific skill by selecting a high-frequency word or word family, and then creating a game or challenge that incorporates that word.

The software does the rest of the work, adapting the content as the student shows their proficiency. 

This is easy to get started with from the teacher dashboard. Get started with a free teacher account .

 Father and daughter sitting on couch, bonding over the Prodigy English game on computer

A graphic organizer bundle is a set of printable templates for higher-level guided reading groups. They help students organize their thoughts and ideas as they read.

Graphic organizers bundles can be useful for teaching across various grade levels and reading levels. Some examples of what you might include in yours include story maps, character webs, Venn diagrams and cause-and-effect charts.

An effective guided reading activity for students is to create their own thesaurus or dictionary based on a text they have read. This activity helps students to expand their vocabulary and reading comprehension and promotes their independence in learning new words. 

Students can start this activity by identifying words from the text that they don't know, and then research their meanings and synonyms. 

They can then compile their findings into a thesaurus or dictionary. They can keep this dictionary later on to support their reading and writing in the future.

Creating a thesaurus or dictionary can also be a sight word activity for first and second grade students. Through this activity, students can learn new words, their meanings and how to use them in sentences.

Cartography is a guided reading activity where your students create a map of the story setting. Students use their knowledge of the story and its setting to create a detailed map, including key landmarks, buildings and other important features.

This activity supports students' comprehension skills, as well as their ability to visualize and create mental images of the setting. Not to mention that adding an art element will likely get your students very excited.

Two young girls happily drawing on a map with colorful markers

Another art option is to have your students create a comic strip that summarizes the key events in a text they read during guided reading. 

This activity can help students develop their summarization and storytelling skills, as well as their understanding of the text's structure and plot.

You might have students work in pairs or small groups to create their comic strips. Another option is to have them present their work to the class or share it with others in the form of a class-wide gallery walk. 

This activity can be modified for different grade levels by adjusting the level of detail required in the comic strips.

If you want to do 3D art instead of drawing, your students could create a diorama that represents a scene or setting from a text that students’ have read during guided reading.

This activity will help develop their visualization and creativity skills, as well as their understanding of the text's description and setting.

Again, you can decide whether students do this individually or in small groups. And you can decide if they’ll then present their work to the class in some way.

Kids with paper cutouts in hand, standing near a blackboard, enjoying a fun craft project

In this guided reading activity, students are encouraged to use their creativity and language skills to write a poem related to the text they have read. 

This activity allows students to use their own words and express their understanding of the text in a unique and personal way.

You can provide students with examples of different types of poems, such as haikus, sonnets and free verse, and give them prompts related to the text they have read. 

This activity may need to be adapted depending on the grade level you’re teaching and the reading ability of your students.

The Alternative to Rotating Reading Stations is a flexible grouping approach that focuses on providing targeted instruction for small groups of students based on their individual needs.

You may find that this method makes it much easier to meet the diverse needs of your students and differentiate instruction to help each student reach their full potential.

You can group students based on their reading level , skills, interests, or any other factors that may impact their learning. 

Students might work independently or collaboratively with this activity.  You can provide individualized instruction or use a variety of instructional materials to support students' learning. 

There’s so many ways to customize it. Do a little experimenting to find what works best in your classroom!

Encouraging students to log their independent reading time can help them take ownership of their reading and develop self-motivation and accountability.

You will give each student a log to record the titles of the books they read, the amount of time spent reading and their impressions of each book.

These logs can provide you with valuable insights into students' reading habits and preferences.

You can choose to have these completed during class by setting aside time for independent reading. Or you can offer incentives for completing logs and reaching reading goals at home.

A character interview is an activity in guided reading where students take on the role of an interviewer and ask questions to a character from a book they have read. This activity aims to enhance students' comprehension of the story, character analysis and critical thinking skills.

This fun activity develops students' speaking and listening skills, as well as their ability to communicate effectively with others. 

It can be adapted to different grade levels and texts and can be done individually or in groups. 

For example, for first grade, a character interview activity can be done as a whole class or small group discussion after reading a picture book.

A teacher and a child engaged in guided reading inside a classroom

Guided reading picture ladders are an activity that involves creating a visual representation of a text's plot structure. 

The activity is designed to help students better understand the sequence of events in a story. It also reinforces comprehension skills, such as identifying the main idea and supporting details.

To implement this activity, you will create a ladder on chart paper with the story's title at the top and the events of the story written in order on the rungs. Students can then use the ladder to retell the story, identify the main events and discuss how they are connected.

In this guided reading activity, students create social media profiles for characters from a text they have read. 

This activity allows students to analyze the character's traits, motivations, and relationships, while also practicing their writing skills. Not to mention that they see it less as classwork and more as something fun to do. 

Students can use platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to create the profiles. They can include posts, photos and other media that reflect the character's personality and experiences.

After reading a story, students are encouraged to discuss and analyze various elements of the story, such as the characters, plot, setting, themes and literary devices used by the author. 

This activity can be done in a group setting or individually. Additionally, it can be adapted to suit different grade levels and texts.

If you want to, you can collect these reviews to use as a reading resource for future students.

A newspaper report is a great way to practice reading and writing skills. In this guided reading activity, students will retell an event from the story as if they are a reporter.

You can add to this activity by having students use graphic organizers, such as a story map, to help them identify the key elements of the news story and plan their newspaper report.

Crafting a diary entry is a guided reading activity that helps students understand and connect with the characters in the story.

To do this activity, instruct your students to imagine themselves as one of the characters in the book and write a diary entry from that character's point of view. 

Writing a diary entry will help your students develop their writing skills and creativity while also encouraging them to think critically about the story and its characters.

A young boy focused on writing in a notebook, expressing his thoughts and ideas

Guided reading activities can take many forms and are often lots of fun for students. This element of fun often keeps students engaged and excited to learn. Try out a few of these activities to see which ones your students like best. 

Are you wanting to try reading activities but aren’t sure that you can make them work with the varied reading levels in your classroom? Prodigy has you covered!

Prodigy has an adaptive format that challenges students when they have mastered a concept or gives them extra practice if they are struggling. And it does all of this without extra work from you. 

All you need to do is set up your free teacher account , and we’ll do the rest! You can sit back and relax knowing that your students are engaging with great content that is aligned with US state standards for 1st through 8th grade. 

Get started today!

THELITERACYMAMA.COM

  • Mar 23, 2023

Cool Reading Games and Activities to Improve Comprehension

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

reading activities sample

Do you want to ensure that your students or children get the most out of their reading? Reading is an essential part of life and vital for educational success. However, learning can become dull and tedious if not done in a way that engages readers.

Fortunately, plenty of enjoyable games and activities will help reinforce learning and make it fun! In this blog post, we'll explore some cool reading games and activities to boost comprehension skills creatively!

Make a Story Map

Creating a story map is an engaging way to help children develop their reading comprehension skills. Start by drawing a map of the book's setting, which could be an imaginary land or a familiar location like their school or neighborhood. Next, encourage the young readers to fill in the various characters that live in this world, as well as the plot and other significant elements of the story.

This interactive and creative activity allows children to visualize the story more vividly while fostering a deeper understanding of how the different aspects of the story connect. Moreover, this hands-on learning approach enhances children's comprehension and makes reading a fun and memorable experience for them. So, grab some pencils and paper, gather the kids, and embark on a thrilling journey through their favorite stories with the help of story maps!

Click here for a free story map printable!

reading activities sample

Host a Book Club

Starting a Book Club with your child can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you, as it not only encourages reading as a shared hobby but also helps to improve reading comprehension. To get started, invite your little one to choose a book or series that piques their interest; this will catalyze future conversations.

Set aside time each week for a relaxed and friendly discussion about the characters, plot, and what aspects of the story your child liked and didn't like. You can also explore the lessons and themes the book may offer.

By fostering a safe and engaging environment where they can freely express their thoughts and ideas, you'll strengthen your bond with your child and empower them with essential comprehension skills they can carry with them throughout their lives.

reading activities sample

Create a Story Detective Game

Imagine an exciting new way to boost your child's reading comprehension skills – introducing the Story Detective Game! This innovative and engaging game combines intriguing mysteries with captivating stories, creating an interactive learning experience. We make clues from the story that the children must use to solve a mystery. As they embark on their literary detective journey, kids will be encouraged to pay close attention to the details, analyze them, and make connections.

The friendly nature of the game fosters a love for reading while sharpening their problem-solving skills. Watch as your little detectives grow into avid readers, eager to uncover the hidden secrets waiting for them between the pages of every book!

Act Out Characters

Encourage your child's creativity and imagination while supporting their reading comprehension skills with a fun and engaging activity: acting out their favorite book characters! Choose a favorite story, grab some cozy blankets or simple costumes to bring the characters to life, and watch your little one transform into their favorite heroes, villains, or magical creatures.

As you read the story together, let your child re-enact key scenes, allowing them to delve deeper into the plot and empathize with the characters. This playful activity can be a planned skit, complete with funny dialogue, or simply an impromptu game of charades.

By bringing the magic of storytelling into their world, your child will strengthen their reading comprehension and enjoy a memorable bonding experience with you!

Reading Relay

reading activities sample

Imagine the excitement of combining a relay race with reading comprehension! The Reading Relay game is a fantastic way to engage learners and make reading fun. Simply divide your group into two teams, and have them take turns reading passages aloud from a chosen text.

As each participant finishes their portion of the reading, they pass the book on to the next person on their team, much like a relay race. This exciting method of teaching reading comprehension builds teamwork and a sense of friendly competition.

The thrill of racing towards the finish line keeps participants actively involved and motivated to understand and read the passages quickly and accurately. So, gather your group, and let the Reading Relay race begin!

Board Games

reading activities sample

Isn't it wonderful how we can have so much fun while learning and improving our skills at the same time? That's precisely what you'll experience when you explore the world of board games that support literacy and reading comprehension. Fan favorites like Scrabble and Bananagrams offer an exciting challenge for players to flex their minds and create words using a limited selection of letters.

But did you know there are story-based games like Stuffed Fables and Tall Tales Story Telling Board Game that take you on a thrilling journey? Not only do these games engage your child's creative skills, but they also help you enhance your reading comprehension abilities. So, let's dive into this exciting realm and discover how these engaging board games can bring joy and learning together in a delightfully entertaining way!

Show Your Kids that Reading is Fun!

Teaching your child the skills to be a proficient reader does not have to be complicated or tedious. By choosing fun, interactive activities such as making a story map, hosting a book club, creating a story detective game, having your child act out characters, playing a reading relay game, and using board games that support literacy and reading comprehension, you can make it enjoyable while still effectively teaching the fundamentals of reading.

Through these activities, you will foster a developing love for literature in your children, laying the foundation for an appreciation of books later in life. Furthermore, these techniques offer methods for reinforcing already learned fundamentals as well as learning an overall understanding of the content, which aids in future writing endeavors.

Reading does not just happen on its own; your involvement is essential if you want your child to benefit from all the educational opportunities that come with it.

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18 Warm-Up Activities to Engage Students Before They Read Nonfiction Texts

Here is a collection of our favorite “bell ringers,” “do nows” and “hooks” to grab students’ attention, along with examples from dozens of our daily lessons.

reading activities sample

By The Learning Network

How can you get your students interested in reading informational texts, whether the topic is Syria or sneakers , space exploration or statistics , surfing , superheroes or “ the souls of Black girls ”? How can you help them make connections between unfamiliar topics and their own lives? How can you scaffold complex ideas to make them accessible for a wide variety of learners?

We’ve had lots of practice answering these questions. Our editorial staff — all of us former teachers — comes up with a fresh before-reading activity, or “warm-up,” for every Lesson of the Day we publish. We now have over 700 of them, all based on Times articles chosen from across sections of the paper, and all free to students around the world.

Here we’ve combed through the collection, organized the strategies that we use most frequently and provided examples so that you can see how they work. Each is intended to be a brief activity — an appetizer before the main course. You can find them all listed here in this downloadable poster (PDF).

But we also hope to hear from you. Let us know in the comments section or by emailing us at [email protected] if you have other warm-up suggestions you think we should try. We’d love to lengthen this list!

1. Make it personal.

When have you faced a difficult journey or challenge? What role do video games play in your life? What do you know about your family history and ancestry? Do you read or write poetry? Have you ever believed in magic?

We all work hard to help students make connections between school content and their real lives, and sometimes all it takes is a simple question.

For instance, to introduce an article about Henry David Thoreau and his experience at Walden Pond , we ask students if they liked to spend time alone, and what the benefits and drawbacks of solitude have been for them. For a piece about the science of dog behavior , we ask about their experiences with dogs and their observations about the special bond these animals have with humans. And to ease them into an article about redefining the quinceañera , we invite students to write and think about their own experiences with coming-of-age rituals of all kinds.

Students can explore these personal connections through writing in a journal, using sentence starters , talking with a partner, taking a temperature check , or sketching a concept or identity map .

2. Start with an image …

Look at the picture above and answer these three questions about it, in as much detail as you can: What is going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can you find?

That’s how a lesson on an article about wild animals and the pandemic begins. We borrowed the three questions from our weekly “ What’s Going On in This Picture? ” protocol, because we know it invites students not only to speculate, but to provide evidence for their ideas — all of which help lead them seamlessly into the article.

In another example, we invite students to discuss the thoughts and feelings that come up when they view this illustration before reading an article about self-harm :

Sometimes we provide students with a group of images to explore, as we do in this lesson based on the multimedia feature “How Black Lives Matter Reached Every Corner of America ,” or in this lesson about Caribbean Carnival . In a physical classroom, these photos can be used in a gallery walk activity .

3. … or a video.

We begin many of our Lessons of the Day with short videos — some from the article itself, some from related pieces in The Times and some from a reliable outside source, like National Geographic or the BBC.

Can street dance be a fine art? Before reading about Lil Buck and his belief that Memphis jookin can be no less rigorous than classical ballet, students watch the four-minute video above, “Nobody Knows,” that showcases his breathtaking artistry and discipline.

We also use video to engage students emotionally with a news story that might feel distant or complicated. In our lesson plan about China’s detention of Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region, for instance, students watch a Times Opinion video featuring the voices and stories of young people whose parents have been imprisoned in the camps.

We often ask students to process what they view through journaling or in discussion with a partner, using prompts drawn from our Film Club feature : What moments in this film stood out for you? Was there anything that challenged what you know — or thought you knew? What messages, emotions or ideas will you take away from this film? What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience?

4. Analyze a graph or map.

Thanks to the excellent graphs and maps The Times produces on subjects as varied as nutrition choices and music fandom , we often use this kind of multimedia to invite students to make observations and ask questions about a topic before they immerse themselves in it.

For example, before reading about how LeBron James is leading a generation of athletes into ownership , students look at the graph of racial disparities between players of color and head coaches of color in sports.

For a warm-up to introduce a Times article on past vaccine drives , including smallpox and polio, students look at maps of Covid-19 vaccination rates across the United States and in their own community.

And before learning about the connection between the decline in Chinese restaurants across America and the economic mobility of the second generation, students analyze a graph that uses data from the restaurant reviewing website Yelp.

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What does the sun look like? You have probably drawn a picture of the sun at some point in your life: a simple yellow circle with lines or triangles surrounding it. Do you think it really looks like that? Based on what you know about the sun — its structure and makeup — what do you think its surface actually looks like? Is it perfectly round? Smooth? Rough? Uniform or varied? Is it the color of the yellow in a box of crayons? Or something more complex? Take a few minutes and make a sketch of the surface of the sun.

We recognize that most warm-ups take only a few minutes at the start of class, so there usually isn’t time to have students create an artistic masterpiece. But, as you can see in the activity above, used at the start of a lesson plan about newly released photos of the sun’s surface , sometimes it does make sense to have students make a quick sketch. By inviting students to draw, we’re really asking them to think — perhaps about something they’ve never thought about before.

Drawing can also be a fun way to get students to share their own unique perspectives. Before reading an article on sexist double standards facing women who run for political office , we prompt students to draw what they think an effective president looks like, adding words that describe the appearance, qualities and behaviors of a leader. A warm-up for an article on machine design asks students to sketch what they think of when they hear the word “robot.” For an article discussing possible life on Venus , we prompt students to draw what they imagine extraterrestrial life in the universe to look like.

Drawing a “mind map” also counts. In this lesson about a school for basketball careers , we invite students to visually brainstorm every job they can think of that is related to their favorite sport: management of players and teams, training, marketing, merchandising, keeping statistics and more.

The goal isn’t to test students’ illustration skills, of course, but to allow them to express their creativity and imagination, as well as to see the range of visual ideas in a single classroom.

6. Ask for predictions.

reading activities sample

Is it possible to bounce a water balloon off a bed of nails? Do you think your N.F.L. team will make the playoffs this year? If I touched the moon, what would it feel like? Sometimes asking students to anticipate what they’re about to read by making guesses or advancing theories about the topic can give them a stake in finding answers. The three questions above, we hope, do just that.

Take the second question in the list above: Before exploring the math behind any N.F.L. team’s playoff chances , we invite students to make their own predictions and then compare them with The Times’s computer simulator.

Here’s another example: We ask students to make predictions before reading an article about how distracted walkers can affect pedestrian flow : What do you think would happen if several people were walking while looking at their phones in a crowded school hallway or on a busy sidewalk? How might these distracted walkers affect the way the crowd moved, if at all? After students make those predictions, they are more prepared to understand the results of a recent study — and to do our “going further” activities that take those results and use them for real purposes in their own communities.

Making predictions in advance of reading a text can help to give students a purpose for reading, providing a “need to know” as they look for answers to their conjectures. For example, in this lesson, about teenagers and their social ties during the pandemic, we invite students to begin by making a list of all the roles their friends play in their lives. Then, before reading what experts on adolescent development and mental health have to say in the article, they compare their lists and try to predict some of the reasons the experts would give for why pandemic isolation has been particularly hard on teenagers.

7. Take a stand on an issue.

How do you feel about the following claims? With which do you agree, or strongly agree? With which do you disagree, or even strongly disagree? Why?

Participating in sports builds valuable skills for young people. The risk of long-term brain damage for professional football players is very high. The risk of long-term brain damage for youth football is very low. If I were a parent, I would not let my 13-year-old play tackle football.

This is how we introduce students to an article exploring how a small Texas city is struggling over the question of whether to allow 13-year-olds to play tackle football .

Beginning a class with this kind of “ Four Corners ” debate, which prompts students to show their position on a specific statement (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree) by standing in a particular corner of the room, is a great way to get students out of the seats and to take a stand — literally and figuratively. Another version? The “ Human Barometer ,” which asks students to line up along a continuum based on their position on an issue. We often use one of these two protocols when tackling a nonfiction text exploring a topic with disagreement or controversy surrounding it.

In a warm-up to an article on state cuts to food stamp programs , we ask students to take a stand on the statement: “The government has a responsibility to make sure no Americans go hungry.” And to introduce an article on the lucrative opportunities enjoyed by some college “cheerlebrities, ” we ask students to decide where they stand on the statement: “College cheerleaders should be able to make money through things like endorsement deals, brand partnerships and sponsored social media posts.”

The idea is not that there is one correct viewpoint or perspective, but to begin to understand the contours of a public debate and start to unpack the arguments in favor of contending stances.

After reading the featured article, students can return to the Barometer or Four Corners warm-up activities and revisit their stances to see if — and how — they and their classmates have revised their opinions.

8. Invite student-to-student discussion.

The think-pair-share . The turn-and-talk . Most teachers are familiar with these quick activities that invite students to talk with a partner — as tools to make sure every student in the class is involved. And when students use them to discuss ideas, reactions and experiences during a warm-up, they become active learners right from the start.

We generally ask students to do a little writing and thinking before conversing with a classmate so they’re ready to enter the discussion with something to say. For example, to introduce a lesson about the history of Black American Sign Language , we invite students to first quick-write and then turn and talk about how they use language in different settings.

Before reading an article on how to argue more productively , we first invite students to engage in some “joyful disagreements,” debating such thorny questions as “Does pineapple belong on pizza?” and “How does the roll of toilet paper go on the holder?”

Sometimes we employ slightly more structured or elaborate discussion strategies, like the “ speed dating ” exercise in this lesson plan about art appreciation . In a face-to-face setting, students pair up to answer a question or to discuss a topic for three to five minutes and then quickly form new pairings to discuss a different question or topic — and continue that way for several rounds.

9. Make something — or do something.

Warm-up activities don’t always have to focus on reading, writing or discussion. Often we try to make them literally hands-on.

In a lesson plan about the art of origami , for instance, it just makes sense to invite students to experiment with origami before they begin reading. Afterward, we ask them to reflect on the process and describe what was challenging, what was fun and what techniques they used.

Sometimes a warm-up is less hands-on than lips-, teeth-, tongue-, jaw- and throat-on, as in this lesson plan about beatboxers , which invites students to experiment with making different types of sounds and beats with their mouth and voice alone.

And for a lesson on the complexities of language’s origins , we ask them to choose one of the 26 letters in the alphabet and imagine they have to explain how to make the sound of that letter to a young child or someone who has never heard or spoken it before. To do so, they first have to experiment with saying the letter in different ways — at different speeds, for example, or by exaggerating the movement of their mouths and lips — while paying close attention to what their bodies are doing as they make the sound.

10. Try a mini-experiment.

Spinning water droplets that seemingly defy physics, chinese researchers have discovered a new way to make water droplets spin, creating a potential new kind of hydropower..

I bet you’ve never seen water do this: twist and turn like a dancer in flight. It happens when a droplet lands on a water-repellent surface with a special pattern. These acrobatic leaps were recorded by Chinese scientists investigating new ways to manipulate water. To understand what they did, let’s step back and see what Isaac Newton had to say about bouncing objects. According to Newton, when an object hits a solid surface, some of the energy of the impact is translated into a rebound. Think of a ball hitting concrete. If the ball travels straight down with no spin, it should bounce straight up again. And it’s the same with a water droplet on a water-repellent surface. Theoretically, the droplet should bounce straight up — no fancy stuff. But the researchers created a pattern of adhesive material on the surface that water sticks to. The water in contact with the sticky patches recoils more slowly than the water touching the repellent surface, and that makes the droplets spin. Change the pattern of the adhesive, and you change the shape of the dancing droplet. The researchers made swirls and half-moons and dotted circles, each of which caused the water to behave differently, sometimes even bouncing sideways. Scientists also showed how the energy of the droplets could be harvested. They set up a magnetically suspended surface. As the droplet landed on the surface and rebounded, it pushed down the plate and caused it to spin. It’s a new kind of hydropower. And at their peak, those droplets are spinning at a whopping 7,300 revolutions per minute. So apart from creating a water droplet ballet, scientists have also found a new way to harvest energy. And their work might help in designing self-cleaning airplane wings. For now, it’s enough to have the pleasure of watching the leaps and pirouettes of those dancing drops.

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Try out a mini-experiment testing the way water reacts to different types of surfaces. First, gather a few surfaces with varying textures — rough, smooth, grainy, oily, soft, hard or bumpy. You might use a desktop, a sheet of textured paper, an aluminum can or pavement. Then, using a dropper, Pasteur pipette or straw, drip water on the different surfaces. Record your observations.

This is how we begin our lesson about dancing water droplets that reveals the startling ways water seems to dance. Students then watch the short video above and compare their observations with those of scientists.

For science-related nonfiction texts, you might try a mini-experiment that doesn’t require a lot of materials and is quick and easy to do. For example, before reading an article about how scientists use paper as a model to study other crumpling challenges — such as how DNA packs into a cell, or how best to cram a giant solar sail into a small satellite — we ask students to ball up pieces of paper and take notes about patterns they notice.

Some experiments might be too long for a “hook” activity, but a short hands-on activity can be a great, interactive way to get early buy-in from students.

11. Try a thought experiment.

Imagine a situation where all cars and public transportation suddenly disappeared — and all you had for travel was a bicycle: How would it affect you and your family?

Sometimes prompting students to imagine alternate realities can open their minds to a new way of seeing a problem or issue. For instance, the prompt above begins a lesson plan about the most bike-friendly city in the world , Copenhagen.

For a lesson about a library’s exhibition on 5,000 years of writing , we ask students to imagine if humans had never invented a written language. How would the world be different?

And before reading about why monkeys have tails while apes and humans don’t , we prompt students to imagine their lives if they had this curious appendage — whether short, long, bushy or striped. What are at least five cool things they could do with it?

12. Observe nature — or the human environment.

Take five minutes and simply look at the clouds in the sky.

This simple instruction begins our lesson on the Cloud Appreciation Society .

Sometimes the best way to engage students can be the easiest and mostly readily at hand: Look around you, pay close attention to something, watch and observe.

To introduce the complicated topic of the disrupted global supply chain , we ask students to look at the labels on their clothing, sneakers, electronics or anything else they own and find out where they’re made. What trends do they notice as they share their data across the class or in small groups?

In a warm-up to an article on a scientific experiment studying the blinking of birds , we ask students to take several minutes to study and observe their own blinking: Does the quality and the quantity of blinking change in different settings or lighting? When sitting versus standing? When looking at something nearby or far in the distance? When is your blinking voluntary and when is it involuntary?

Students can use their simple observations to form questions or a hypothesis, helping both to build engagement and to frame the reading.

13. Activate prior knowledge.

Students approach any new topic with varying degrees of prior knowledge, so inviting them to consider what they may have already read, heard or watched on that topic can serve multiple purposes.

For starters, it can help classmates share ideas and information at the start of a lesson. It can also help to surface any misinformation that students might have. And it can give students an opportunity to ask questions before they dive into the reading.

Many teachers are familiar with the classic K/W/L chart — a graphic organizer that organizes what students “ k now,” “ w ant to know,” and “have l earned” in three columns — and we use them often, too, in lesson plans on topics like the Harlem Renaissance , women’s suffrage movement and presidential election process .

Sometimes we simply ask students to share in their journals or in pairs: “What do you know — or think you know — about a particular subject?” Our lesson about the ways in which the British spy agency M15 promotes itself on social media asks this to help students brainstorm what they might already know on the broad topic of spies and spying — but also, we hope, to get them excited to learn some surprising things about how espionage agencies operate today.

And sometimes we just want to show students they know more than they think they know. For example, in a lesson about applying to college during a pandemic , we suggest that students brainstorm a list of all the steps, big and small, a high school student traditionally takes as part of the college application process. Then we ask them to go back through that list and put an X through each step that was somehow disrupted by the pandemic. This not only helps them see that they are coming to the Times article with a great deal of background knowledge already, but also helps them anticipate the issues they will be reading about.

14. Respond to a quote.

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Consider the following statement: “History is never neutral.” What do you think that means? Do you agree with its premise? Why or why not? Can you think of any examples that support or contradict this statement?

A particularly provocative or juicy quote or statement can often be an effective way to get students thinking deeply about a subject even before they read an article. The example above introduces our lesson plan about state history textbooks .

Sometimes the most powerful warm-up quote comes right from the article. We begin a lesson about a California homeless camp with the following quote from Markaya Spikes, a woman who was living in the camp at the time:

Homeless people are treated worse than stray animals. When someone finds a stray animal they take it home and feed it. When someone sees a homeless person they call the police. Where is the compassion?

We ask students, What is your immediate reaction to reading the quotation? What words stand out to you? Does the quotation bring up an emotional response? Do you have any desire to respond to Ms. Spikes? What might you say to her?

Or quotes can come from famous adages, mottos or sayings. For a lesson profiling people who pursued deferred dreams later in their lives , we ask students to consider two sayings: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Then, they reflect on which they find more accurate and true to life.

15. Take a quiz.

OK … pop quiz!

1. How many bacteria can fit on the head of a pin? a) 1,000 b) 1 million c) 1 billion d) 1 trillion 2. How many Earths could you fit inside our sun? a) 10 b) 100 c) 1,000 d) 1 million

This is how we start a lesson on the popularity of videos demonstrating relative size on YouTube. We don’t expect students to know the answers beforehand, but it is a quick way to introduce them to mind-boggling magnitudes in the universe.

Another example: For a lesson about race and biology , we start with a short true-or-false quiz. True or false? “Race is determined solely by biology.” In addition to piquing students’ curiosity, a quiz like this can surface common misconceptions quickly.

We also use premade quizzes from The Learning Network, The Times or other reliable sources. If a lesson plan features a specific country, like Myanmar or Cuba , we often start with a Country of the Week quiz . And we occasionally send students to a Times science or news quiz, like we did for this lesson about the danger of added sugars in our diets or this lesson on climate change solutions .

These quizzes are always intended as learning “hooks,” though, and never as graded assessments. We want them to get students thinking and to evoke their curiosity, not intimidate them.

16. Pro/con, cause/effect, problem/solution: Make a list.

Whether it’s generating pros and cons, causes and effects, arguments for and against, or problems and solutions, brainstorming a list can be an effective warm-up to get students’ minds active. They can make a list individually or with a partner, and they can share examples with the class before jumping into the text. Then, as they read the related piece, they will often find their own ideas reflected.

For example, in a lesson about Marvel’s first Asian superhero film, Shang-Chi , we ask students to take a few minutes to make a list of common superhero stereotypes they have read in comic books or seen in movies.

Before reading the article, “ Here Comes the Bride. And the Bride. And the Bride. Mass Weddings Boom in Lebanon ,” we invite students to make a list of the pros and cons for a young couple thinking about participating in a wedding ceremony that might include as many as dozens, hundreds or even thousands of couples.

To introduce an article on the discovery that bird populations in the United States and Canada had fallen by 29 percent since 1970, a loss of nearly three billion birds, we ask students to make two lists, one for possible causes of this loss and another for the possible effects. And for a lesson on theater programs in prison , we challenge students to consider the purpose of prison: punishment, rehabilitation and deterrence, making a list of arguments for each.

17. Preview a text.

Sometimes an effective warm-up activity can simply be to give students a taste of the article they’re about the read. If the opening lines or top images are engaging enough, then the article can serve as its own preview.

To preview an article on the popular video game Among Us, we ask students to respond to a quote from a teenager:

“A few weeks ago I went from not hearing anything about it to hearing everything about it everywhere,” said Judah Rice, 16, a high school student in Texas. “People are texting about it, I know people who are on dedicated Discord servers and Among Us group chats. I have friends who get together all the time and play it.”

Then we invite them to pretend they are a Times reporter who has been assigned to write an article for a mostly adult audience about the popularity of this game among teenagers. What are all of the things they would want and need to include? Why?

Previewing can also be done by having students read and react to a provocative first paragraph, like this one from a piece on the spread of misinformation :

There’s a decent chance you’ve had at least one of these rumors, all false, relayed to you as fact recently: that President Biden plans to force Americans to eat less meat ; that Virginia is eliminating advanced math in schools to advance racial equality; and that border officials are mass-purchasing copies of Vice President Kamala Harris’s book to hand out to refugee children.

Or it can mean inviting students to scroll through the images and text, enough to get them to notice and wonder about the article, and make predictions for what the rest of the article will be about. That’s how we start our lesson about the Tulsa Race Riots . It’s also what we do with a Twitter account “written” by Katharine the great white shark , who has a lot of teach about shark behavior.

Sometimes it might make sense for the teacher to read the article’s opening lines aloud and for students to react. Often it works best when students do this preview activity individually or in pairs.

18. Define key terms.

Students will often run into unfamiliar words and terms when reading nonfiction texts, perhaps words like decolonize, divestment or gender-nonconforming .

A warm-up activity can introduce students to this key vocabulary in advance, so they can better understand the text they’re about to read. One vocabulary-building strategy we sometimes use is a Frayer model , a graphic organizer that guides students to note the definition, characteristics, examples and nonexamples of the term.

For example, we invite students to define the word “decolonize” before reading the article “ Decolonizing the Hunt for Dinosaurs and Other Fossils ” and “divestment” before reading an article about fossil fuel divestment .

And in a lesson plan about remembering the lives of influential Latinos , we provide students with a list of 10 words from the article they may not know, such as ventriloquism and embargo, and encourage them to use this list of words and their definitions to learn what each means and to practice using the words.

We hope this collection helps to expand your teaching toolbox of warm-ups, bell ringers, “do nows” and hooks when you approach any informational text — from The Times or any other source.

But, we know, of course, that there are many more ways to introduce nonfiction texts. Let us know in the comments section or by emailing us at LNFeedback.com if you have other warm-up suggestions you think we should try. We’d love to expand our list!

This Reading Mama

Ready to Go Guided Reading Lesson Plans and Activities

By thisreadingmama 4 Comments

*I received a  free online access  from SNAP! Learning  and was compensated for my time. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

As a classroom teacher years ago, one of my biggest chunks of planning time was mapping out my guided reading lesson plans and activities. Getting my guided reading lesson plans ready involved finding appropriate reading texts for each of my reading groups, reading the books beforehand {or at least skimming them if they were longer}, planning different phonics or comprehension mini-lessons to go with the books, and organizing activities that the students could do with the book after they had read {or re-read} the books to practice skills.

Whew. Just thinking about it again makes my brain spin.

Ready to Go Guided Reading Lesson Plans and Activities ~ a review of Snap! Learning's Guided Reading Materials | This Reading Mama

Ready to Go Reading Lesson Plans and Activities

Now that I’m homeschooling, I don’t have to keep close track of and turn in any guided reading lesson plans {thank goodness}, but I still like to follow the guided reading model at home. This involves before, during and after reading support while my kids are reading developmentally appropriate texts.

One thing that I’ve been very thankful to discover this past school year was Snap! Learning . The ready to go guided reading lesson plans and activities are such a time saver. And they are a great fit for classroom teachers or homeschooling parents!

reading activities sample

If you’ve hung around long enough, you know that I’ve mentioned Snap! Learning before, as their lesson plans and reading activities are great for improving comprehension and supporting struggling readers . But did you know that Snap! Learning also has printable ready to go guided reading lesson plans and activities? Talk about a time saver!

Printable Student Books-Lesson Plans-Activities for K-6th grade levels from Snap! Learning

For each grade level (K-6), you’ll find ready to go printable resources that are top notch. Not only can you print off the books, but you can print off lightly scripted lesson plans and reading activities {not busy work} for before, during, and after reading.

Printable Lesson Plan Guides for Teaching Reading from Snap! Learning

The lesson plans for books include things like picture walks, phonics and phonemic awareness activities for younger children to vocabulary , text features and text structures for older students. With longer books, three days of lesson plans are included to help support readers.

examples of guided reading activities for first grade leveled readers

The activities include writing, answering questions {many of which are higher order thinking questions }, phonics activities, vocabulary work, projects to extend learning, cloze activities, summarizing, retelling, and use of graphic organizers to organize information.

How do I use Snap! Learning in my reading instruction at home? We use it as a supplement. Since there are not enough stories to last us all year, I use the resources as a supplement to what we’re already doing. But what an amazing supplement it is!

You can give Snap! Learning a try for FREE! Sign up for your trial HERE .

You can also connect with Snap! Learning via Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest , or LinkedIn .

Ready to Go Guided Reading Lesson Plans and Activities from Snap! Learning - This Reading Mama

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July 20, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Thanks for sharing these wonderful lesson plans!

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July 21, 2015 at 5:34 am

You are welcome. 🙂

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July 28, 2015 at 8:45 am

Thank you for sharing with us! How can I access the lesson plans?

July 28, 2015 at 10:20 am

Sign up for their free trial to try them out–> http://homeschool.snaplearning.co/buy_trial?utm_source=This%20Reading%20Mama&utm_medium=RMBanner&utm_campaign=RMAd

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14 Activities That Increase Student Engagement During Reading Instruction

Research shows that students whose teachers spend too much time talking are less likely to be engaged during classroom instruction. Luckily, reading instruction can be so much more than lecture, reading practice, memorization, or decoding drills. We, as teachers, can do more to get our students engaged in learning to read.

List of Reading Activities

Here is a list of fourteen student engagement strategies from  a  webinar  presented by Reading Horizons Chief Education Officer, Stacy Hurst,  that you can use to increase student engagement during reading instruction or  reading intervention:

1. Partner Pretest

Before teaching a new decoding skill or grammar rule, preface the lesson with a pretest. Let your students know that you will not score the test, lowering anxiety and increasing student performance. Pair students up for the pretest and have them use the same set of materials. If the pretest is on a computer or iPad, have students share the device between the two of them. During the pretest, walk around the room to gauge student needs and adjust the lesson accordingly. When lesson material matches student ability and understanding, engagement is higher. Make sure that the pretest is similar to the posttest so you can see how much your students retain during your lesson.

2. Stand Up/Sit Down

You can use this activity to help students learn to differentiate between similar but different reading concepts. For instance, when you’re trying to help your students understand the difference between common nouns and proper nouns, you can give examples of each and have students stand up if it is a common noun or sit down if it is a proper noun. This is a great way to see how much of your class is grasping the material while getting their blood flowing—helping them stay alert.

3. Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

This activity provides a quick way to gauge if your students are comprehending a story or to test them on different reading skills. Instruct students to put their thumbs up if they agree with a statement or to put their thumbs down if they disagree. When students have a low energy level (i.e. right after lunch) Stand Up/Sit Down may be a better alternative. However, if you need to maintain your students’ current energy level Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down is ideal.

4. Secret Answer

This activity is great for students that might not be confident in their answers—students that look around the class when doing Stand Up/Sit Down or Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down to see how the other students’ answer before they answer themselves. To give students a secret way to answer, assign different responses a number and have students hold up the number of fingers that correspond to the answer they think is correct. To do this exercise properly, have your students place their hand near their heart (physically) with the appropriate number of fingers raised to indicate their answer. This way, especially if all the students are facing the teacher, it is difficult for students to copy their neighbor’s answer.

5. Response Cards

This is a great way to mix things up a bit. Have students create a stack of typical responses, including agree/disagree, true/false, yes/no, greater than/less than, multiple-choice options, and everyday emotions. After students have created their response cards, you can have them use them to respond in various settings. For example, while reading a book together as a class, you may pause and ask your students what they think the character is feeling right now. The students then select one of the everyday emotion cards from their personal stack of cards and lift it up to answer the question.

6. Think-Pair-Share

This activity allows students to pause and process what they have just learned. After reading a passage in a book, ask your class a question that they must first consider by themselves. After giving them time to think, have them discuss the question with their neighbor. Once they’ve discussed the question, invite students to share their answers with the class. By giving them this time to process, you enable them to be more engaged in their learning.

7. Quick Writes

Studies show that the proper ratio of direct instruction to reflection time for students is ten to two. That means that teachers need to provide students with two minutes of reflection for every ten minutes of instruction. This activity is a great way to give students that much-needed reflection time! In this activity, ask a question about a reading passage and have students write a response to share with a neighbor or the entire class.

8. One Word Splash

After reading a passage or learning new vocabulary terms, ask your students to write down one word that they feel sums up that material. This might seem overly simplistic, but it requires higher processing skills to help your students digest what they are reading. Students can do this with pencil/paper or a dry erase marker/personal whiteboard.

9. Quick Draw

This activity is perfect for visual learners or students who aren’t entirely writing yet. After reading a part of a story or learning a new concept or topic, have your students draw a picture about what they’ve just read or understood. For example, after reading part of the story Jack and the Beanstalk, have your students draw what has happened in the story up to that point. A student may draw a picture of a boy planting seeds with a beanstalk growing in the background.

10. Gallery Walk

To help students get some of their energy out, have them do a Gallery Walk to see their peers’ work. This activity is an excellent add-on to Quick Writes and Quick Draw. Because students seek approval from their peers, they will put more effort into their work when they know the class will view it.

11. A-Z Topic Summary

Help students connect the dots after finishing a book, a learning module, or a lesson. Have your students complete an A-Z Topic Summary either as individuals or in pairs. If it is an individual activity, have students write either a word or a sentence that connects to the book, module, or lesson for each letter of the alphabet. For example, if you learned about baking, they might write a sentence for the letter A such as: “Always preheat the oven before baking.” To speed up the activity, you can assign students to work in pairs or assign a letter to each student or team and have them write a sentence for that letter rather than the whole alphabet.

This is a quick way to help students process reading or lesson material when you’re pressed for time. First, have your students write three facts they learned from something they read or learned in class that day. Next, have students write two questions about the book or topic that wasn’t covered or discussed in class. Finally, have your students write one opinion they have about the reading material or lesson. This activity can also help you plan for the next lesson on the topic or book.

13. Find Your Match

This is another activity that gets your students up and moving. Create card matches that correlate to a storyline in a book, vocabulary terms, figures of speech, grammar rules, etc. For example, your card matches might include the following concepts (depending on grade level): rhyming words, uppercase/lowercase, antonyms/synonyms, words/definitions, problem/solution, and words/pictures. Hand out one card to each student in the class and then get up and find the other student with the matching card.

14. Dictation

One of our favorite teaching activities is Dictation! It is highly effective in engaging students because it is  multisensory explicit phonics instruction  involving: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile senses. Having a multisensory approach increases working memory and integrates all language skills/modalities. To do Dictation, have students listen to a word, repeat the word out loud, write it out on paper, and then have them read the word out loud again. View an example of Dictation in action  here .

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Personalized reading comprehension exercises for K-12 and ESL students.

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22 Effective ESL Reading Activities Your Students Will Love

Do your ESL students sometimes struggle to understand what they’ve read?

Reading comprehension is notoriously difficult for students to learn and for teachers to teach. You have to make it interesting and effective. Otherwise, your students will lose interest and get discouraged from reading in English altogether.

In this post, I’ve compiled 22 awesome and effective ESL reading comprehension activities that your students will surely enjoy. Some are straightforward, while others require a bit of preparation prior to the main activity.

1. Pick the Right Word: Which Is It?

2. picture quiz: brown bear, what do you see, 3. connect the dots: this word goes with that picture, 4. sequence: putting humpty dumpty back together, 5. story retelling: showtime, 6. cause and effect: who solves the mystery, 7. following directions: it’s a treasure hunt, 8. multiple-choice: get it right, 9. short answers: a story within a story, 10. vocabulary focus: show and tell, 11. decoding idioms: guess what the phrase means, 12. question time: prep for the real work, 13. read and repeat: get pronunciation down pat, 14. paragraph summary: tell it another way, 15. quiz writing and giving: stump your classmates, 16. true or false: give me a thumbs-up (or down), 17. puzzle making: cut and paste, 18. taboo: don’t say that, 19. class discussions: talk it out, 20. class debates: fight it out, 21. class presentations: in-class ted talks, 22. class presentations redux: tell me about [a favorite topic], why do esl reading comprehension activities.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Most ESL reading activities designed to test comprehension look like this:

Sarah went to the (beach/park). There, she met a friend who went to (science class/summer camp) two years ago.

You can usually find exercises like this for free on K12Reader.com and Mr. Nussbaum.com , so you don’t need to spend time making them on your own.

They’re rather cut-and-dry as far as exercises go, but if you’re new to giving out ESL reading comprehension activities or are looking for a safe option, you can always fall back on this one.

If you’re looking for a more creative version of “Pick the Right Word,” you can also craft an ESL reading comprehension activity that doesn’t necessarily involve words and sentences (as strange as that might sound).

Instead of giving students two options to choose from or having them fill in the blanks, you can give them a bunch of pictures and have them do some matching.

Using the example above ( Sarah went to the (beach/park) . ..), you can label several pictures as A, B, C and D. Picture A can be a beach, Picture B can be a park and so on. Students can then sort through the pictures, and write the correct letter corresponding to the correct image in the blank space.

Alternatively, you could also use “Connect the Dots” for the same exercise above. This works especially well with younger ESL learners, who’ll be more appreciative of colorful pictures accompanying their learning activities.

Feel free to throw in an irrelevant picture or two to make the activity a tad more tricky and interesting. It’ll also more accurately gauge whether your students actually understand the answers they’re giving out or are just guessing them.

Nursery rhymes like “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall” are engaging for ESL learners of any age.

For this activity, use pictures to retell the story and help your students remember the main plot points, characters and events of the text.

Preparation

  • Create copies of two stories. Make sure each is single-spaced and printed on a separate piece of paper. Label each story “Story 1” and “Story 2.”
  • Make a worksheet of a bunch of pictures (related to the stories you’ve created) labeled with either numbers or letters. Make sure there are spaces or lines immediately below the pictures where your students can write their answers. Depending on your class’s level, you can turn the labeling exercise into the perfect drill for practicing spelling and sentence construction.
  • Give your students the picture worksheet, and talk about what’s happening in each picture.
  • Ask your students to turn over the picture worksheet, and hand out the two stories to read.
  • After the students have finished reading, have them flip the papers with the stories over to the blank back side. Without looking at the story, students should cut out the pictures, and glue them to the back of the right story in chronological order.

If you need some inspiration for fantastic picture reading comprehension worksheets, try ESlFlow.com . There are also some interesting picture worksheets on Cal.org that  focus specifically on health literacy for ESL adults .

You’ll probably find that it’s easier and more fun to find a story online, and download images from Google to make your own picture stories.

Story retelling involves reading a text or story and then acting it out to other students. If you have students who love role play, they’ll enjoy this one and similar activities .

  • Choose from any of these short stories for ESL students , print them out and make enough copies for the whole class.
  • Divide students into small groups. Make sure the size of each group matches the number of characters in the stories you’re handing out.
  • Give each group a different story that they’ll need to act out in front of the class.
  • Prepare (or have your students prepare) a list of short answers/multiple choice/true or false questions to engage the audience and evaluate how well the actors captured the events of the story.
  • Once everything is set, it’s showtime!

Cause and effect questions help students think outside the box and better understand the ripple effect of events.

Text materials that have a mysterious plot or historical background are excellent choices, because they require students to understand the context of the mystery, the clues and the characters to fully appreciate the thrills of crime solving.

For example, you can read this interesting crime scene together with your students in class. Your objective with this activity is to answer the final question: Why isn’t Inspector Coderre satisfied with Ms. Webb’s version of the event? 

  • Divide students into groups.
  • Create a cause and effect map to capture the first part of Ms. Webb’s testimony, which ends right before the sentence, “The inspector was very sympathetic and told her that it was very natural to not want to damage somebody’s property.” For example, you can write something like “ (effect) Ms. Webb could see the study room → it was well-lit. (cause) ” or “ (cause) Ms. Webb broke a small window → to get into the house. (effect) ” It doesn’t matter how you order the cause and effect—the point is to help students notice details in the story and make an effective analysis.
  • Ask the students to identify the part of the testimony that made the detective lose his sympathy. Analyze that testimonial section with another cause and effect chart. Do they notice any inconsistencies?
  • Discuss the students’ findings in class or in small groups.

You don’t have to limit ESL reading comprehension activities to short stories. You can also facilitate hands-on activities to encourage your students to read, such as this treasure hunt game.

  • Create a map. It can be hand-drawn or printed. Give unique names to the basic geographic features of the classroom/schoolyard, so students can navigate the “rainforest” or “dark caves” without getting lost.
  • Put together a clue sheet to help locate the treasure. It should be filled with hints, codes and even secret messages for students to decode. For example, if you hid a diamond playing card on the third shelf of a bookcase in the corner, you can give the following clue: It stands in a corner with lots of pages for you to read. The diamond is on the third floor and right under a fairy tale. 
  • Hide different treasures (cards, small balls and beanies) in the classroom or schoolyard.
  • Divide your students into groups.
  • Give them the map and clue sheet to locate the treasure.
  • The first group that finds their treasure wins the game. But they’re always welcome to join other teams to help them find their treasures, too!

Multiple-choice is a classic, wonderful way to ease your students into new material. It’s also excellent for building much-needed confidence before moving on to more challenging ways of checking reading comprehension.

You’ll want to use “scaling” in your multiple choice questions—i.e., making each question slightly more difficult than the one before it. This way, your students will be challenged just enough to keep going.

To get started:

  • Ask students to read a short story, article or blog post. 
  • Give them a few concise multiple-choice questions afterward.
  • Go over the questions and answers as a class.

In this activity, your aim is to get students to dig deeper beneath the surface of what they’re reading. You want them to go beyond answering questions about the events and characters in the story, and talk about related topics as well.

For example, if a short story features lovers who are of the same gender, the students might want to formulate short answers about the concept of homosexuality. (Of course, if this is a taboo topic in the area where you’re teaching, or your students aren’t at the level where they can talk about such topics yet, you may want to pick an easier subject that’s less emotionally charged or controversial.) 

There are a lot of ways to go about this activity. You can:

  • Give students time to read the story in class.
  • Assign the story as homework.
  • Pair students up, and have them develop short answers together.
  • Have pairs read their short answers to other pairs.

This exercise is a great way to put some of your students’ newly learned words to good use. Plus, you don’t have to search far for new words—the ones that appear in the assigned reading will do.

All you have to do is:

  • Pair students up.
  • Have them underline key words in the target text.
  • Have them look up any words they don’t know.
  • Have students present their vocabulary terms to their classmates.

Decoding phrases, especially idioms, can be tricky for most students. That’s why it’s a good idea to devote an entire activity to this concept alone.

  • Scan the assigned or target text for idioms that may be difficult to decode based on context alone.
  • Compile these words and phrases, and print them on a worksheet.
  • Ask your students to read the collection of phrases, and have them write down or discuss what they think the phrases mean. Be careful not to use too many phrases, or you’ll bore the life out of your students and discourage them from reading the assigned or target text further. 
  • Once everyone is done, explain the phrases to the students. If you speak your students’ mother tongue, you can also judiciously use the bilingual method of teaching English . Ask them if they have similar idioms in their language.
  • Challenge your students to write sentences using the new idioms, either in class or for homework. This allows you to check for comprehension and tweak accordingly.

Often, ESL reading activities involve answering questions after the text has been read. For this activity, it’ll be the other way around. 

Pre-reading questions are great for reading comprehension because:

  • They orient the reader to the genre, topic and purpose of the text.
  • They allow the reader to activate their knowledge of related vocabulary, and glean the key words and phrases they should seek to understand in the reading.
  • They provide a focus for the reading of the text, so students know what information is important and what isn’t.
  • They save a ton of time during reading comprehension tests.

Encourage your students to underline key words and phrases, and make notes and translations where necessary. This will help them avoid the common error of not answering the question as it’s written on the paper. A little time spent going over their notes here can improve the overall accuracy and relevance of their answers.

Reading comprehension work gives you an excellent opportunity to get in some pronunciation activities for your ESL students . These will enhance their speaking and listening skills all at once.

For example, when working on a text in class, you can:

  • Read a sentence in the target text.
  • Have the students repeat the sentence after you, paying close attention to their pronunciation.
  • If you notice anything off about their pronunciation, give them gentle feedback .
  • Once you’ve worked through the entire piece, have the students read it back to you paragraph by paragraph. Again, take the opportunity to correct where necessary.

Similar to the short answer activity discussed earlier, paragraph summary activities can challenge your students and help them develop their unique English voices.

This activity could be done post-reading, but it’s also an excellent way to ensure comprehension as you work through the text with your students.

  • Put students in groups.
  • Give them the text as you usually would.
  • Encourage your students to take notes, annotate and underline as they go. Ask them to talk about any personal connections that they have to the topic(s), or to put themselves in the shoes of someone featured in the text. Students will benefit from relating what they’ve learned to their own lives.
  • At the end of a paragraph (or suitable portion of the text), have the students summarize what they’ve read in their own words. They should be instructed to write it out in no more than four or five sentences. Encourage them to use different words and sentence constructions.
  • Have them present their summaries to the class. The presentations can last from 30 seconds to a minute each.
  • Answer any questions that arise.

A fun post-reading activity is to have a quiz based on the reading comprehension text.

Students generally get lots of opportunities to answer questions in class, but not as many to ask them. Try checking their comprehension by having them ask their classmates questions about the passage they’ve read.

I’ll go into the specific quiz formats later, but the activity will generally go like this:

  • Have them create a quiz for the other groups.
  • Have the groups grade the quizzes.
  • Discuss the quiz questions and answers as a class.

The quizzes don’t have to be in the usual pen-and-paper format. They can also come in the form of an:

  • Oral quiz.  This gives the students an opportunity to use their new vocabulary in speech.
  • Game show quiz. Set up a game resembling “Jeopardy!,” or choose from any other famous TV game show to model your quiz on.

True or false is yet another standard classroom activity that can be made fun for your ESL classroom.

  • Take your featured text, and create a good number of “yes or no” questions about it. Each question should be relatively simple, covering the main topic, events, themes, characters and anything else described in the text.
  • Read the questions out loud while students follow along on a worksheet. Have the students respond to the statements by giving a thumbs-up for a true statement or a thumbs-down for a false statement. This allows you to easily spot the students who are struggling to understand the piece and support them accordingly.

For longer and more complex pieces, you can review the true or false statements at the end of each paragraph or page, instead of the end like you would with simpler pieces.

This could be done as a pre- or post-reading activity and works best in groups.

  • Photocopy the passage, and cut it into pieces. Chunks of one or two paragraphs are best.
  • Get your students to put the reading together. 

You could also do a cloze reading exercise like so:

  • From the reading, choose topic sentences that you want your students to work on.
  • Using your word processor software (like Microsoft Word or Google Docs ), type or copy-and-paste the topic sentences into a blank page.
  • From the sentences, cut the words you want your students to work on, and paste them at the bottom of the page. Replace the cut words in the sentences with blanks.
  • Let your students fill out the blanks using the words pasted at the bottom of the page.

Luckily, here are some ready-to-use cloze activities on different topics you can swipe from. 

Taboo is arguably the best game for practicing vocabulary and livening up your lesson. If you haven’t heard of it before, it essentially involves a student explaining what the key word they’re thinking of means without using the key word itself or synonyms of any kind.

Here’s another variation:

  • Put students in groups of four to five members.
  • One student goes first. They draw their key word on the board. If the word is “financial,” the student won’t be able to say “bank,” “money” or “financial.” They can only make gestures or add details to their drawing.
  • The student who guesses which word fits the drawing gets a point.

Class discussions can take place before or after your ESL reading activities.

If you’re doing it beforehand, your goal should be to engage the students and activate their current vocabulary, getting them to talk in broad terms about the topic they’ll be reading.

For example, if the text will be about tourism, kickstart a discussion with questions like:

  • What are the benefits of a strong tourism industry?
  • What are the best tourist destinations in their home country, and why?
  • What are major problems for tourism for their home country?

You can put these questions on a worksheet with ample space for brainstorming and forming opinions independently.

Alternatively, you could divide students into pairs or small groups to discuss the topic before reading the text. Since you’re already familiar with the text they’ll be looking at, you can skillfully and subtly steer the conversation into issues and areas related to the gist of the text to come.

If you’re doing post-reading discussions, you can use questions from ESL textbooks , come up with your own questions or—if your students are at a high enough level—have them come up with the questions themselves.

  • Have them write two to three discussion questions.
  • Use the questions as a basis for class discussion.

For some fantastic ESL-oriented discussion questions on a variety of topics, click right here .

If the passage is about something topical, you could use it to organize a debate.

There are many ways to structure a class debate, but the one I usually use is pretty simple:

  • One-minute argument
  • One-minute rebuttal
  • The facilitator (usually you or a capable student) gives feedback.

Suitable for intermediate to advanced students, a debate offers a platform to share opinions about a given topic. Often, with a little imagination, a reading comprehension topic can segue into a debate topic relevant to the students’ own lives.

You know how watching a TED Talk often leaves you with a feeling that you’ve learned something new or even life-changing afterward? Recreate that format in class to further boost reading comprehension.

For example, if the class just read an article about the qualities of a good brand, the students could deliver two-minute presentations about their favorite brand and what makes it special.

To make the most of these in-class TED Talks:

  • Show them a relevant TED Talk in class, so they can get the hang of the format.
  • Give students time to create their own TED Talks. You could also assign it as a homework assignment instead.
  • Decide whether the TED Talk should be done individually or in groups. Both work well enough, in my experience.

Then again, your students might feel intimidated at the thought of having to recreate presentations that are given by big-name personalities and watched by millions of people around the world.

In that case, it’s okay to take a more down-to-earth approach to presentations. Give your students a bit more leeway with the format. Better yet, let them have the freedom to talk about any topic they choose.

This way, they’ll make more of an effort to communicate their passion for something in English. They’ll also have a solid incentive to brush up on the necessary vocabulary and express themselves in colorful ways. Watch them come alive as they talk about the things that matter the most to them.

  • Reading doesn’t only teach ESL students grammar, word usage and sentence structure. It also enables them to acquire new information about the culture surrounding their target language.
  • Reading helps students see how English is communicated through writing. As you know, good writing and being a good reader go hand in hand.
  • Reading comprehension activities help students test their understanding of words in a written context. At the same time, they can get the most out of their reading assignments.

While you’ve undoubtedly used conventional tests to quiz your students, there are ways to make reading comprehension activities effective without relying on the same old methods.

For example, you can:

  • Have your students listen to ESL podcasts . Some of them have transcripts, so students could read those first, then listen to the episode afterward and combine listening and reading comprehension.
  • Use videos with subtitles in your classroom for a fun twist on reading comprehension. The key is to use videos that have subtitles, like YouTube and FluentU , the latter of which has authentic videos with accurate transcripts. Have students read the transcript first, then play the video in class.

Sure, there’s a time for your students to read for pleasure outside the classroom. However, in-class reading comprehension activities maximize the benefits of reading by making it more relevant and personal to them.

Also, as their teacher, you’ll have opportunities to clarify misunderstandings and ambiguities, as well as enhance students’ vocabulary, word usage and interpretation skills.

With a few dashes of entertainment and creativity here and there, your ESL students will come to love reading in English beyond its educational benefits. 

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EnglishPost.org

11 Examples of While-Reading Activities

Reading is the process of looking at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them.

When we read, we use our eyes to receive written symbols and we use our brains to convert them into words, sentences, and paragraphs that communicate something to us.

We can simply go straight to the reading without a plan, there are different approaches to teaching reading but most of these agree on the importance of using a series of activities that anticipate the reading, activities to complete during the actual, and some activities to complete after it.

Table of Contents

Most Used Approach to Teach Reading

Importance of while reading activities, what are examples of  while-reading activities, 1. identify topic sentences, #2 general and specific ideas, 3. identify the connectors, 4. confirm prediction, 5. skim a text for specific information. , 6. answer literal and inferential questions, 7. inferring, 8. coding text, 9. student-to-student conversation, 10. scan a text for specific information, 11. answer a short quiz, more teaching english articles.

The most common framework to teach reading is the PDP approach .

While-reading activities or During-Reading activities are part of the three main stages that a reading lesson has:

While-Reading Activities are defined as activities that help students focus on aspects of the text and to understand it better.

The goal of these activities is to help learners to deal as they would deal with it as if the text was written in their first language

During this stage, students will be able to:

The number of while-reading activities that you can do in the classroom depends on the creativity of the teacher.

You can use while-reading activities which are based on traditional forms of assessment or you can implement some technology if you are good enough integrating it in classes.

These are some examples of while-reading activities that you can use in the classroom.

Identify topic sentences and the main idea of paragraphs.

The main idea of a paragraph is the author’s message about the topic

Remember that every paragraph usually includes a topic sentence that identifies the main idea of the paragraph.

Distinguish between general and specific ideas.

General ideas  usually express the main point or main  idea  of a piece of writing and Specific ideas  provide evidence to further define the  general  or main  idea  and prove that it is valid

  If you want to know what I mean, have a look at this reading exercise

Identify the connectors to see how they link ideas within the text.

There are many types of connectors, for a full list of linking words, have a look at these linking words grouped by category.

Check whether or not predictions and guesses are confirmed. 

This is something that can be done when a reading class might starts with one of these pre-reading activities .

Skimming is the ability to locate the main idea within a text, using this reading strategy will help students to become proficient readers.

Skimming reading  will also help students to be a flexible  reader

Literal simply refers to what the text says and inferential is using the text  as a starting point to get a deeper meaning

You can take a look at one of these exercises in this website: Literal and Inferential Meaning

Another while listening activity consist of Inferring the meaning of new words using the context.

  All language learners rely on context to decipher the meaning of a word, a reading strategy used quite a lot when you do extensive reading.

Coding text involves teaching students a method of margin marking so they can place a question mark next to an statement they don’t understand or an exclamation mark next to something that surprised them.

This type of activity is one that promotes the integration of two more skills since you read the paragraph, you talk to a classmate and you listen to what he or she has to say.

you can ask students to have a conversation after they have finished a paragraph or a stanza of a poem so they can clear up any confusions they might have.

Scanning  is  reading  a text quickly in order to find specific information.

You scan when you look for your favorite show listed in the TV guide, when you look your friend’s phone number in your contact list.

This a traditional way to assess if students have learned something from the reading however you can make a difference by using online tools to collect those answers

You can use a tool such as Plickers, Google Forms or another tool of choice.

If you want to use this reading strategy successfully, you need to understand how the reading material is structured as well as have a clear idea about what specific information you have to locate.

I hope that you have found everything you were looking for

These are some articles that cover the how to teach reading topic

  • 3 Stages for Teaching Reading
  • 15 Examples of Pre-Reading Activities
  • 10 Examples of While-Reading Activities
  • 13 Examples of Post-Reading Activities

These are some articles that cover the how to teach listening topic

  • The 3 Stages of a Listening Lesson 
  • 12 Types of Pre-Listening Activities
  • 12 Examples of While-Listening Activities
  • 10 Types of Post-Listening Activities

Manuel Campos, English Professor

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English

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ESL Activities

ESL Games, Activities, Lesson Plans, Jobs & More

ESL Reading Activities, Games: Worksheets, Lesson Plans and Resources

If you’re looking for some of the best ESL reading activities, games, worksheets and lesson plans, then you’re certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for all the ESL reading comprehension activities you need to!

esl-reading-comprehension

ESL reading games and activities

Let’s get into some top reading activities for ESL students to consider using in your classes.

ESL Reading Comprehension Activities and Games

Are you reading to get into the top ESL reading games and activities for kids, teenagers and adults? Without further ado, here are the best ESL reading activities to consider!

#1: Dialogue Substitution Reading Activity

Have you ever noticed that when students have to read a dialogue of some kind in the textbook, most of them just read it without really thinking about what they’re reading? It’s not really their fault, it’s just that we haven’t given them a reason to read carefully.

In order to turn a simple reading activity into one that focuses on grammar and meaning is to remove some of the words! Tricky, right? Try it out for yourself and you’ll notice how much more carefully students have to read. Learn more about it here:

Dialogue Substitution ESL Reading Comprehension Activity .

#2: Brochure Scanning ESL Reading Activity

Students are often quite good at reading for detail. However, the downfall is usually that it can take them forever to do this! This is often not like real life though in that students have to scan something quickly to find the information they need. For example, if they’re looking for a certain type of food on a menu, or the time of a certainly flight on a schedule.

An ESOL reading exercise that can help your students out with scanning is this one that uses a brochure of some kind like a travel brochure. Find out more details about it here:

Brochure Scanning Reading Activity .

ESL Reading Activities for Teenagers and Adults: Practical Ideas for the Classroom (ESL Activities...

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  • Bolen, Jackie (Author)
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  • 88 Pages - 02/16/2020 (Publication Date)

#3: Concentration Reading and Memory Game

A fun way for students to work on their reading, along with memory skills and grammar or vocabulary is with concentration.

The way it works is that you make a bunch of cards that match in some way. They can be opposites like hot-cold, words with definitions or pictures, or present-past tense verbs (more ideas here: teach past tense ). These are only a few examples—there are more options you may want to consider as well.

Then, in groups of 4, students place the cards face down on their desks in a random fashion. They take turns choosing two to see if they match. Find out more about it here:

ESL Concentration Memory Game .

#4: ESL Reading Lesson Plan Template

Are you a little bit unsure how to go about planning an ESL reading lesson? Don’t worry. Many teachers, even experienced ones aren’t that sure how to do it. But not to worry! You can follow these simple steps that include warm-up or lead-in, scanning, reading for detail, follow-up and more.

Check it out right here: ESL Reading Lesson Plan Template.

#5: Is that Sentence Correct?

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  • 71 Pages - 05/02/2017 (Publication Date)

A fun way for students to review grammar by reading is to try out this error correction activity. The way it works is that you can write a few sentences, some of which have errors while others do not.

Students have to read the sentences and then correct the errors. You can make this into a friendly competition by giving the first team to complete the activity correctly a small prize of some kind. If I do this variation, I usually tell students how many errors they should be looking for.

Learn more about it here: ESL Error Correction Game .

#6: Rock-Scissor-Paper

I love to use this game before a midterm or final exam to review material from the semester. The way it works is that you can write some questions and answers on a spreadsheet. Then, print them off and cut them out into separate strips of paper. Give each student a mix of question and answer papers (5-6).

Then, they have to go around the class to find their matches. Once they do, they can do rock-scissor-paper and the winner takes both papers and gets one point. The winner is the person with the most points at the end of the activity. Find out more here:

ESL Rock Scissor Paper Activity .

#7: ESL Surveys

I’m ALL about using surveys in my classes. They’re fun, engaging and cover a wide range of skills, including reading. The best part is that you can use them for just about any vocabulary set, grammar point or topic. They’re truly one of the most versatile ESL activities so try them out with your students today.

Do you want to learn more about how to make your own? All the details are right here: Surveys for ESL Students .

#8: English Reading Test Tips

Students are often trying to improve their reading skills in order to score better on English proficiency exams. If this is the case for your students, you’ll certainly want to check out these tips that’ll help improve scores, no matter what the best. And of course, teach them to your students.

You can find them all here: Reading Comprehension Test Tips .

ESL Reading Activities For Kids (6-13): Practical Ideas for the Classroom (ESL Games and Activities...

  • 75 Pages - 05/31/2020 (Publication Date)

#9: Odd One Out

If you’re looking for a quick ESL warmer that’s heavy on the reading, then consider trying out Odd One Out. The way it works is that you write groups of 4 words on the board. For example:

Apple orange carrot banana

Students have to say which one doesn’t match and then why. One possible answer for this one is carrot because it’s a vegetable, not a fruit.

Find out more about it here: Odd One Out ESL Warmer.

Teaching Reading Skills

If you want to learn more about teaching ESL reading skills, then check out this short video:

#10: Flyswatter Game

If you want to have some fun with your students, consider pulling out the flyswatters! The way it works is that you divide the students up into two teams and each team sends one student up to the front.

On the board, you’ll have a bunch of words related to a certain topic. Then, you can give some hints and the first student to slap the correct word with their flyswatter is the winner. There are also other variations and things you can use this game for besides vocabulary. Learn more about them here:

ESL Flyswatter Game .

#11: Proofreading and Editing

A key part of English writing is reading closely to find errors. It’s not uncommon that English teachers fall into the trap of students writing and teachers correcting. Instead, opt for the better way of teaching students how to self-edit their own work with this simple activity:

ESL Proofreading and Editing .

#12: Mixed Up Sentences

If you want your students to get some practice with reading and sentences structure, then consider this quick activity. The way it works is that you can write a few sentences on the board but with mixed up word order. Students have to write them on a piece of paper in the correct order.

It’s simple, but works well as a quick warmer activity to review material from previous classes. Learn more about it here: ESL Mixed Up Sentences Activity .

#13: Problem/Advice Board Game

I love to play board games in real life which is why I like to bring them into my TEFL classroom as well. One area that they work extremely well for is problem and advice. The way it works is that students land on a square with a problem of some kind.

They have to read it, and then give some advice using the correct grammar. Find out more about it right here:

ESL Problem and Advice Board Game .

#14: Information Gap Activities

I love to use information gap activities. The way it works is that students work in pairs to complete a set of information, but each student only has half of the details. These kinds of activities are usually heavy on the reading, but also include a good dose of speaking. Check out our top picks here:

ESL Information Gap Activities .

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  • 279 Pages - 07/12/2020 (Publication Date)

#15: Story Timeline

If you get your students to read a story of some kind, then consider using this follow-up activity. The way it works is that students have to put some pieces of paper with the main sequence of events in the correct order. You can learn more about it right here:

Story Timeline Post-Reading Activity .

#16: Extensive Reading for English Learners

If you have access to a library or budget to buy some English novels, then consider doing some extensive reading in your classes. It can help your students with their reading skills as well as vocabulary acquisition in a big way. Find out more details about it right here:

Benefits of Extensive Reading .

#17: Running Dictation 

#18: Ball Toss

A fun ESL reading game for young learners is ball toss. But, I’ve also used it with university students and adults and they found it fun too!

The way it works is that you write some words or phrases on a beach ball. Then, students toss it around the class and when someone catches it, they have to read what’s under their right thumb and then do something related to that. What they have to do depends on the level of the students. For all the possibilities, take a look at this article:

Ball Toss ESL Activity .

#19: Postcards

This is a fun, simple ESL writing activity that can easily be turned into a reading activity as well. When the students are done writing their postcard, post them around the class. Then, have students carefully read the information on the cards and make a quiz related to the details. It’s a nice reading activity ESL that you’ll want to try out!

Find out more about it: Postcards .

#20: ESL Fruit and Veggies Quiz

Try out this simple online quiz that requires students to read the clues before making a guess as to what fruit or vegetable it is.

#21: Error Correction Relay Race

I love to use this ESL reading activity with my students because it takes something old (error correction) and turns it into something new by making it into a game. It’s fun, engaging and students love it. Plus, it helps them work on their reading for detail skills too.

Find out more here: Error Correction Relay Race .

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  • 50 Pages - 01/21/2016 (Publication Date)

#22: Freeze Group Writing Activity

Although this is a writing activity, it’s also heavy on listening in that students have to read what other students have written before adding a line of their own. It’s fun, interactive and students generally love doing it!

Try it out for yourself: Freeze Group Writing Activity .

#23: Closest in Meaning

Try out this simple reading activity, Closest in Meaning that helps students infer details from the surrounding context if they don’t know some words. Students have to choose the sentence that is closest to the original one. It’s quick and easy and perfect for a warmer activity.

Have a look at it here: Closest in Meaning .

#24: English Phrases and Expressions Lesson Plan

A nice way to focus on English phrases, expressions and idioms is through a reading lesson plan like this one. Help students sound more like Native English speakers as they pick up some of these things that natives use all the time in speaking and writing.

Check it out: English Phrases Lesson Plan .

#25: Vocabulary Auction

#26: Short Stories for ESL Adults

One of my favourite ways to teach reading is with stories. The only issue is finding interesting and engaging ones that are at an appropriate level for English learners. That’s where a book like this one comes in. There are more than 20 ESL short stories about life in Canada.

Have a look:  Short Stories for ESL Adults .

#27: More Ideas for TEFL Reading Lessons

#28: post-reading activities for esl.

There are a million and one you things you can get your students to do in order to get the most mileage out of what they just read. Here are some of the best ideas:

Post Reading Activities ESL .

#29: Prepositions of Place Game

Try out this reading and memory game with your students:

#30: Reading Treasure Hunt

Hide short reading passages or sentences around the classroom or outdoor area. Provide students with clues or prompts related to the content of the passages. Students work individually or in teams to find and read the hidden texts. This activity promotes reading comprehension and adds an element of adventure to the lesson.

#31: Story Chain

Begin with a short paragraph or sentence that sets the scene or introduces a character. Each student adds a sentence or paragraph to continue the story. They can pass the story to the next student or continue writing in a round-robin fashion. This collaborative activity encourages creativity, critical thinking, and reading fluency.

#32: Reader’s Theater

Select a short play or story and assign roles to students. They practice reading their parts with expression and then perform the play or story for their classmates. This activity improves reading fluency, comprehension, and public speaking skills.

#33: English Books for Beginners

If your students want some easier books to read, here are a few of the top recommendations for them:

English Books for Beginners .

ESL Reading Lesson Plans

Are you looking for some of the best lesson plans for teaching English reading comprehension? The good news is that you don’t have to make your own! Other teachers have gone before you and done the hard work. Here are some of my go-to sources:

Breaking News English

One Stop English

English is a Piece of Cake

esl-reading-activity

ESL Reading Comprehension Exercises

ESL Reading Worksheets

As teachers, it can be super helpful to just print a worksheet and go! It can potentially save you a ton of time when planning lessons. Here are some of our top picks for ESL reading comprehension worksheets:

ISL Collective

Busy Teacher

English for Everyone

Did you Like these ELL Reading Activities?

101 ESL Activities: Games, Activities, Practical ideas, & Teaching Tips For English Teachers of...

  • 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)

Yes? Thought so. Then the book you’re going to love is this one over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults . The key to better English classes is a wide variety of interesting and engaging activities and games and this book will help you get there in style!

The best part is that the book is well organized into sections: reading, speaking, review, icebreakers, etc. so you should be able to easily find what you need in just a minute or two. If that’s not some ESL teaching awesome, then I’m not sure what is.

You can get these ESL activities in both digital and print formats. Consider keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office and using it as a handy reference guide. Or, taking the e-version with you to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go.

It really is that easy to have better English classes! Head on over to Amazon to pick up a copy of the book for yourself:

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Teaching ESL Reading FAQs

There are a number of common questions that people have about how to teach ESL reading. Here are the answers to some of the most common ones.

How do I teach ESL reading?

There are a number of strategies you can use to teach ESL reading that will help improve reading comprehension skills. They are as follows:

  • Reading for detail
  • Summarizing
  • Taking notes

How do ESL students improve their reading skills?

ESL students can improve their reading skills in a number of ways.

  • Use scanning and skimming techniques.
  • Make predictions about the text.
  • Look up unfamiliar words or grammatical patterns.
  • Study vocabulary frequently.
  • Extensive reading.
  • Read a variety of different genres.
  • Use reading comprehension questions.
  • Read passages at your level, slightly above and also slightly below.

Why is reading difficult for ESL?

Reading is often difficult for ESL students because they lack a large enough vocabulary and have to stop too often to look up new words. However, extensive reading of texts at a slightly lower level can increase vocabulary, as can targeted study.

What is ESL reading?

ESL reading is when people who don’t speak English as their first language read a text. Abilities can range from reading single words to reading complicated, details academic texts.

What are the 7 strategies of reading?

To improve reading comprehension, teachers should introduce the 7 strategies of reading. They include:

  • monitoring/clarifying
  • questioning
  • searching/selecting
  • summarizing
  • visualizing/organizing

What is the aim of a reading lesson?

The aim of a reading lesson might be to expand a certain vocabulary set or to be introduced to a certain grammatical point. However, the aim may be more reading specific such as working on predicting when reading, note-taking, or reading for detail.

Tips for Teaching ESL Reading

Teaching reading comprehension to ESL learners can be a rewarding but challenging task. Here are some tips to help you effectively teach reading comprehension skills:

Pre-reading Activities

Before diving into the text, activate students’ prior knowledge on the topic. Engage them in pre-reading activities such as brainstorming, discussing related vocabulary, or predicting what the text might be about. This helps build curiosity and prepares students for what they are going to read.

Teach Reading Strategies

Introduce various reading strategies to your students. These strategies can include skimming (quickly scanning the text for general information), scanning (looking for specific details), and inferring (drawing conclusions based on context). Explicitly teach and model these strategies, and encourage students to apply them while reading.

Start with Shorter Texts

Begin with shorter texts that are at an appropriate reading level for your students. This allows them to build confidence and develop comprehension skills gradually. As they become more proficient, gradually introduce longer and more complex texts.

Vocabulary Development

Reading comprehension is closely tied to vocabulary knowledge. Teach and review vocabulary related to the topic or theme of the reading. Encourage students to use context clues to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words. Provide opportunities for vocabulary practice through activities like word matching, creating word webs, or using the words in sentences.

Scaffold Reading Tasks

Provide support for your students as they engage with the text. Use graphic organizers, such as KWL charts (What I Know, What I Want to Know, What I Learned), story maps, or concept maps, to help students organize their thoughts and make connections. Break down complex sentences or paragraphs, and encourage students to summarize key points or main ideas.

Comprehension Questions

Ask a variety of comprehension questions to assess students’ understanding of the text. These questions can include factual, inferential, and critical-thinking questions. Encourage students to support their answers with evidence from the text. Gradually increase the complexity of the questions as students progress in their reading abilities.

Provide Authentic Reading Materials

Supplement textbook readings with authentic materials, such as news articles, short stories, or blogs. Authentic materials expose students to real-world language use and enhance their cultural understanding. Choose texts that align with students’ interests and backgrounds to foster engagement.

Promote Discussion

After reading, facilitate discussions to encourage students to express their thoughts, share opinions, and ask questions about the text. This helps develop critical thinking and encourages students to delve deeper into the content. Pair students up for peer discussions or conduct whole-class discussions to promote interaction and collaboration.

Monitor Progress

Regularly assess students’ reading comprehension skills through quizzes, informal assessments, or reading logs. Track their progress and provide feedback to address areas for improvement. Celebrate their successes and offer encouragement throughout the learning process.

Cultivate a Love for Reading

Foster a positive reading environment by sharing your enthusiasm for reading. Recommend books, encourage independent reading, and create opportunities for students to explore different genres and authors. Instilling a love for reading can motivate students to become better readers and improve their overall reading comprehension.

Have your say about these Reading Activities for ESL Students

What are your thoughts about these reading comprehension activities for English learners? Did you try out one of them from this list or do you have another that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you. Also, check out this TOEFL reading practice exercise.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy English teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.

Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About Jackie

Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.

Jackie is the author of more than 60 books for English teachers and English learners, including Business English Vocabulary Builder and 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Teenagers and Adults . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.

You can find her on social media at: YouTube Facebook Pinterest TikTok LinkedIn Instagram

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12 Fun ESL Reading Comprehension Activities for All Levels!

Krzl light nuñes.

  • May 30, 2023

A female English teacher sits at a library table next to a young bog who is pointing to a page in an open book.

Reading is essential to boost your English learners’ skills, so ESL reading comprehension activities are vital to your students’ success. Some students may not be fond of reading or are daunted by the thought of running into unfamiliar words or phrases, but fret not! We’ve got ESL reading comprehension activities that make reading fun and engaging for different types of English students. So without further ado, let’s dive in to some ESL reading comprehension exercises and activities!

Are you a teacher of young learners? Learn about the power of storytelling for young learners in the ESL classroom.

Table of Contents

How do you make your reading comprehension fun in ESL classes?

When it comes to practicing reading comprehension in English classes, it’s not uncommon for some students to think that this activity only involves reading long texts, learning new words, and answering a couple of questions. While they do help your students practice skimming, scanning, inferring information, and many other skills, ESL reading comprehension activities don’t have to be boring at all! Here are some tips on how you can turn your reading comprehension activity from mundane to fun and engaging.

Make your reading comprehension time more engaging by turning it into games or activities that will have learners compete (in a friendly way). Instead of sticking to the usual handouts and ESL reading comprehension worksheets, you can come up with races, challenges, and many other interactive activities that will make your class more memorable and worthwhile.

Even adult learners of Business English love a good game. Learn more with 10 Fun & Easy Games for Teaching Business English to Adults.

a collage of photos showing students from young children to adult learning online.

Choose activities that will build important skills.

There’s more to reading comprehension than just answering questions – it also trains students to develop reading skills, such as summarizing, sequencing, drawing conclusions, and solving problems. As you develop your reading comprehension activities, you can vary them based on the skills you’d like your students to work on. For instance, you can choose a game wherein students have to order events or create the correct sequence of a story they’ve just read. Over time, students learn to move into higher-order thinking skills related to critical thinking .

In addition, a lot of these reading skills also serve as strategies when your learners are preparing for English proficiency tests such as the PTE , IELTS , and TOEFL . The reading sections of these exams typically involve long texts and various types of questions, such as finding the main idea and identifying key information, so you’ll definitely want to prepare your students for these tasks!

Use realia and visual aids.

Bring your reading comprehension activities to life with realia and visual aids such as pictures, props, diagrams, timelines, and other tools – they not only make your class activities more colorful and engaging but also help your learners comprehend what they’ve read more easily, especially if they are visual learners. Also, instead of you writing or illustrating on the board (or virtual whiteboard) all the time, you can have students do these tasks for a more interactive experience.

a teacher using realia for her online ESL class.

What activities help with reading comprehension?

As long as your students are able to learn and understand your reading activity and there is a lot of interaction involved in the class, you can create your own reading comprehension tasks. Here are some activity ideas you can get inspiration from and tweak depending on the kind of learners you have:

  • Pre-reading vocabulary games (search for the synonym, word hunt, word pairs)
  • True/false type of activities (guessing games, races)
  • Sequencing activities (drawing, picture story, puzzles)
  • Retelling activities (role-plays, summarizing a story)
  • Making predictions (guessing games, charts)

Do you have students who struggle with new vocabulary? Learn some top methods for introducing new ESL vocabulary words.

ESL reading comprehension activities for beginners

Here are some ESL reading comprehension activities and exercises your beginner learners will enjoy.

True or False Race

What you’ll need: four cards, two with “true” written on them and the other two with “false”

How to do it: In this game, the students compete to win as many points as possible. After the class reads the text, divide the class into two groups. Give each group a pair of “true” and “false” cards. Then, tell them that you will read out a statement based on the text they’ve read and they have to raise the correct card. The first person who raises the correct card wins a point.

Online variation: You can create your own true or false games on free, game-based learning platforms like Kahoot!

Fun Story Elements

What you’ll need: a whiteboard, small cards to draw on

How to do it: On the cards, draw different symbols or shapes (e.g., a heart, a circle, a smiley, etc.). Then, assign a story element to each one (e.g., heart=setting; circle=main characters). After reading the story, have each student pick a card from the pile. Then, they have to identify the story element based on the card they’ve gotten.

Online variation: You can use the virtual whiteboard on Zoom or Skype or make use of Google Jamboard . You can also create online cards using digital flashcard maker platforms .

Draw the Character

What you’ll need: a sheet of paper, pencils and/or coloring materials

How to do it: This activity can usually be done after reading a story, but you can also use it for other types of texts such as news articles and biographies. After having the class read the text, tell the students that they’ll have to draw their version of the character in the story. Give them some minutes to create their drawings, which they’ll have to present to the class afterward.

Vocabulary Bingo

What you’ll need: a whiteboard, Bingo cards (4 x 4)

How to do it: For this pre-reading vocabulary activity, you’ll have to choose 16 words from the text and find a synonym for each. Write the synonyms on the board and have the students write the words in the boxes of their Bingo cards. Next, read out a word from the text. The students then have to look for the synonym of the word you’ve read and cross it out on their Bingo cards. The first student who completes a straight vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line with four boxes should shout “Bingo” to win.

an online English teacher giving her learners a thumbs up.

ESL reading comprehension activities for intermediate learners

Here are some ESL reading comprehension exercises and activities that will engage your intermediate learners.

What you’ll need: a whiteboard, paper strips or small cards to write on

How to do it: You can do this activity after reading a story, a news report, or any type of narrative text. On the board, create a timeline – you can write the dates or days in the story to guide the students. Then, on the strips of paper, write down the events described in the text.

After reading the story, have the students pick a strip of paper and place it on the correct date on the timeline. For bigger groups, you can create two copies of the paper strips, and then divide the students into two groups. Afterward, tell the groups that they have to construct the timeline of the story as a group, and the first one to complete it wins!

Online variation: You can create the timeline on a virtual whiteboard and have students take turns filling in the events correctly as you read them aloud.

Text Scavenger Hunt

What you’ll need: a whiteboard

How to do it: Prepare challenges or questions that will have students “hunt” for key information in an article or text. These can be challenges related to vocabulary (e.g., “Look for the synonym of ‘pretty’ in the first paragraph”) or finding key information (e.g., “Where did Joe go on Friday night?”).

After reading the text, tell the students that you will read out the question or challenge and they’ll have to write their answers in their notebook or on a sheet of paper. Then, announce the correct answer, and the students will confirm whether they’ve found the right information. Correct answers will earn a point, and you can keep track of the students’ points by writing them on the board.

Roll & Recall

What you’ll need: a dice

How to do it: Create six comprehension check questions about the text the students are going to read. Assign each question to a number (one to six) After reading, ask a student to roll the dice. Match the question with the number that the dice lands on. The student will then answer the question.

Online variation: For games like this that require dice, you can use virtual dice .

Summary Sentence Puzzles

What you’ll need : small strips of paper

How to do it: For this game, make sure to divide the text into small paragraphs. Then, write the summary of each paragraph on a strip of paper, and cut it out in between the words so that it becomes a sort of puzzle (don’t forget to keep the puzzle groups separated). Then, after reading the text, give the students a puzzle group and have them rearrange the words so that they create a complete sentence. Finally, the students have to match the sentence with the right paragraph it summarizes.

Online variation: You can use a virtual whiteboard and move words around to form sentences as a whole class.

Get more fun ESL games and activities for kids and teens.

teen students in a classroom, some standing, some sitting, smile and laugh while playing a game.

ESL reading comprehension activities for advanced learners

Lastly, here are some reading comprehension exercises and activities to engage your advanced learners.

Predictions

How to do it: This activity is best done for reading involving long stories or other types of sequential texts. Divide the text that you’ll read in class into three or four parts (make sure the students can see only one part at a time). Then, read the first part of the text. Afterward, ask the students for their predictions for the second part. Write their predictions on the board. Then, continue reading the next part of the story. Check the predictions of each student. The predictions that are close to what is written in the text win a point.

20 Questions

What you’ll need: This activity doesn’t require any special materials or props, but students need to have a notebook or a sheet of paper to write their questions on.

How to do it: This activity can be applied to any type of text. After reading the text, students take turns asking their classmates questions related to the text. In turn, the other student has to answer the question. The teacher can write the questions on the board until the class has created a total of 20 questions.

Detective for a Day

What you’ll need: printed or digital handouts containing the mystery questions

How to do it: This activity can be done using any text, as its goal is to build your students’ skills in identifying key information and making inferences. Divide the text into three or four sections, and then tell the students that they’ll be solving different mysteries as you they go along the story.

Before the reading activity, prepare “mysteries” that the students have to solve. Create questions that will have students identify key characters, solve problems, or order the events in the text. Once the students have answered all the questions correctly, you can write (or stamp, if possible) “Case Closed” on the paper and give them the green light to go to the next round.

What you’ll need: This won’t require special materials either, but students can use any props they see fit!

How to do it: You can do this activity with a group of students using any type of narrative text. After reading, the students have to create a role-play of their own or a dialogue based on the story they’ve just read. Then, they’ll have to act it out (or read the dialogue) in front of the class.

No matter how challenging reading comprehension activities may seem, there’s always a way to make them more manageable and enjoyable. By trying out the activities above or creating your own reading comprehension activities, your students will see reading comprehension in a different light and will surely look forward to the next assignment!

It’s all fun and games! Earn certification in Games and Activities for the Online Classroom with Bridge’s 10-hour Micro-credentials!

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Back in her hometown in the Philippines, Krzl worked as a writer at a TV station before moving to Chile. After she completed her TESOL certification, she worked for language institutes and then decided to become an independent English teacher to business professionals. When she’s not giving classes, she’s either surfing along Chile’s long stretch of coastline, traveling, or practicing photography by the beach.

reading activities sample

Golden Pass LNG Says Contractor Talks May Affect Work (1)

By Ruth Liao and Stephen Stapczynski

Stephen Stapczynski

Talks between contractors building the Golden Pass liquefied natural gas export plant in Texas may impact work at the massive facility, the developer said Thursday.

Golden Pass LNG did not say how the project would be impacted or whether its timeline would be affected. Work is ongoing, the company said.

The plant is scheduled begin operations in early 2025 but faces potential delays due to a shortage of specialized workers and construction issues, Bloomberg reported in April, citing people familiar with the matter.

A spokesperson for Golden Pass LNG acknowledged that contractors were engaged in “ongoing discussions” over the role ...

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IMAGES

  1. Printable Reading Games For 1st Graders

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  2. 38 Fun 6th Grade Reading Comprehension Activities

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  3. Free Reading Activities for Beginning Readers

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  4. Free Printable Reading Comprehension Worksheets For Kindergarten

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  5. Reading Printable Worksheets For Kindergarten

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. 30 Brilliant Reading Activities That Make Learning Irresistible

    2. Read Aloud. Amazon. This tried and true activity never gets old, and it's one of the most valuable activities we can do with kids. With so many wonderful picks for the preschool audience, you'll make your students laugh and help them learn valuable lessons about the world and their lives. 3.

  2. 27 Fun Reading Activities To Try At Home or In The Classroom

    Here are a few activities for children to practice reading comprehension. 1. Summarize the text. Great for: All ages. Once a child is done reading a text or section of a book, have them revisit the main ideas by highlighting or taking notes on the text's biggest themes.

  3. 13 Fun Reading Activities for Any Book

    Compatible with all devices and digital platforms, including GOOGLE CLASSROOM. Fun, Engaging, Open-Ended INDEPENDENT tasks. 20+ 5-Star Ratings ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. $3.00 Download on TpT. Open ended Reading activities: Awesome reading tasks and reading hands on activities for any book or age group. Fiction and Non-Fiction.

  4. 15 Guided Reading Activities and Strategies for Teachers

    Post-reading discussion: Reading teachers and students engage in a discussion about the text, focusing on comprehension and analysis of the content. Follow-up activities: Opportunities are then provided for students to practice and apply what they have learned during the guided reading lesson. This might include writing responses, completing ...

  5. 25 Activities for Reading and Writing Fun

    Listening to your child read aloud provides opportunities for you to express appreciation of his or her new skills and for them to practice their reading. Most importantly, this is another way to enjoy reading together. Activity 12: Family stories. Family stories enrich the relationship between parent and child. What you'll need:

  6. Cool Reading Games and Activities to Improve Comprehension

    Create a Story Detective Game. Imagine an exciting new way to boost your child's reading comprehension skills - introducing the Story Detective Game! This innovative and engaging game combines intriguing mysteries with captivating stories, creating an interactive learning experience. We make clues from the story that the children must use to ...

  7. 18 Warm-Up Activities to Engage Students Before They Read Nonfiction

    Some experiments might be too long for a "hook" activity, but a short hands-on activity can be a great, interactive way to get early buy-in from students. 11. Try a thought experiment. Riding ...

  8. 10 Activities to Increase Understanding While Reading

    Here are 10 activities that will get your students to actively engage with a text and increase their understanding while reading. 1. Skim for the main idea. Before students get into the nitty-gritty of the text, have them skim the text for a general overview. Encourage them to look at headings, visuals, and bold words.

  9. Ready to Go Guided Reading Lessons and Activities

    The lesson plans for books include things like picture walks, phonics and phonemic awareness activities for younger children to vocabulary, text features and text structures for older students. With longer books, three days of lesson plans are included to help support readers. The activities include writing, answering questions {many of which ...

  10. Reading Activities

    Here is a great selection of reading activities for students that will reinforce skills while giving students the chance to have fun with literature. Some of these activities will require a text (or texts) of your choosing, others require prior knowledge with specific reading skills, and some of these activities require nothing more than creativity and a few sheets of blank paper.

  11. 14 Activities That Increase Student Engagement During Reading

    Here is a list of fourteen student engagement strategies from a webinar presented by Reading Horizons Chief Education Officer, Stacy Hurst, that you can use to increase student engagement during reading instruction or reading intervention: 1. Partner Pretest. Before teaching a new decoding skill or grammar rule, preface the lesson with a pretest.

  12. Six Games for Reading

    4. Monopoly. 5. Rhyming games. 6. Fishing for sounds. Here are six games parents or tutors can use to help young readers practice word recognition, spelling patterns , and letter-sound knowledge. When planning to play one of these games, choose words to use from books the child is reading or has read recently.

  13. ReadTheory

    Reading comprehension exercises — online, free, & adaptive. ... Put down the red pen, we've got you covered! Bonus points - set Recurring Activities once, and you're good for the year! Easy-to-use reporting. Track individual student and class progress in real-time. Identify where additional practice is needed. Access thousands of ...

  14. 22 Effective ESL Reading Activities Your Students Will Love

    Vocabulary Focus: Show and Tell. This exercise is a great way to put some of your students' newly learned words to good use. Plus, you don't have to search far for new words—the ones that appear in the assigned reading will do. All you have to do is: Pair students up. Have them underline key words in the target text.

  15. ReadWorks Comprehension Reading Passages

    ReadWorks kindergarten and 1st grade passages are written at students' listening-level comprehension to build their background knowledge and vocabulary and should be heard aloud. They can be paired with other resources that focus on word recognition. Try our read-aloud protocol with your students to deepen their language comprehension.

  16. Free Online Reading Passages and Literacy Resources

    CommonLit is a comprehensive literacy program with thousands of reading lessons, full-year ELA curriculum, benchmark assessments, and standards-based data for teachers. Consolidate your instructional tools and cut down on costs with everything you need to roll out our research-backed curriculum for just $6,500 / year .

  17. 11 Examples of While-Reading Activities

    These are some examples of while-reading activities that you can use in the classroom. 1. Identify Topic Sentences. Identify topic sentences and the main idea of paragraphs. The main idea of a paragraph is the author's message about the topic. Remember that every paragraph usually includes a topic sentence that identifies the main idea of the ...

  18. ESL Reading Activities for English Language Learners

    Then, print them off and cut them out into separate strips of paper. Give each student a mix of question and answer papers (5-6). Then, they have to go around the class to find their matches. Once they do, they can do rock-scissor-paper and the winner takes both papers and gets one point.

  19. 12 Fun ESL Reading Comprehension Activities for All Levels!

    Here are some ESL reading comprehension exercises and activities that will engage your intermediate learners. Timeline. What you'll need: a whiteboard, paper strips or small cards to write on How to do it: You can do this activity after reading a story, a news report, or any type of narrative text.On the board, create a timeline - you can write the dates or days in the story to guide the ...

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    Reading Lesson Plans & Activities. The resources provided by The Teacher's Corner cover a variety of literacy-focused topics such as: comprehension, word lists, centers, reading skills, vocabulary, and more. Your ideas and lessons can help other teachers! Submit your reading lesson plan or activity to us. Don't forget to include any additional ...

  21. Golden Pass LNG Says Contractor Talks May Affect Work (1)

    Talks between contractors building the Golden Pass liquefied natural gas export plant in Texas may impact work at the massive facility, the developer said Thursday. Golden Pass LNG did not say how the project would be impacted or whether its timeline would be affected. Work is ongoing, the company ...