The ultimate goal of learning to read is to be able to comprehend what you are reading, however many students struggle with reading comprehension. Traditional comprehension instruction of reading stories or passages, and then answering question after question about what they read can be boring. So let’s talk about some fun ways to work on reading comprehension.
1. Have students act out the parts of the book.
This can be done in a number of ways. After reading a book as a class, you could assign each character to a student. Then, the students can retell the book by pretending to be the characters. You could also assign a character to a student and the class gets to “interview” the character.
2. Partner up the students to discuss the book.
Put students into partnerships or in very small groups. Then, you can present a question to the class. The students will discuss the answers with their partners. After they have had plenty of talk time, call on some of the partnerships to share their answers. I also enjoy doing this as a “Snack & Share.” They can eat a snack as they are doing this activity. For example, after we read Tacky the Penguin, I put my students with partners and they snack on Goldfish crackers while they discuss the book.
3. Get the students up and moving.
The more my students can move during an activity, the more engaged they will be. One of my favorite ways to retell a book, is to have my students do a “Walk and Retell.” I hang signs up in the front of my classroom labeled Characters, Setting, Beginning, Middle, End. (This can be adjusted to whatever you want to include – problem, solution, etc.)
Then, I call on students to come up to the front of the room and stand in front of the first sign labeled characters. They say who the characters were in the story. Then, they move to the setting and tell where the story took place. They continue walking their way through the book as they retell the story.
4. Draw the story.
This is another great activity to have your students do in small groups. After reading a story, put your students into 3-4 small groups. Give them a large piece of paper. I use plain white anchor chart paper.
Assign each small group a part of the story. You can be very general and assign Beginning, Middle, and End or you can be more specific. The groups will work together to illustrate that part of the story. When the groups are finished, they will work together as a class to retell the entire story.
5. Provide short daily comprehension practice.
The more exposure students have with a variety of texts, the better their comprehension will become. So many of our students need to build their vocabulary and background knowledge in order to become better readers. I want to make sure that my students are getting numerous opportunities every day to work on reading comprehension. I love using my Comprehension Notebooks in my classroom.
These are great to use in a whole group or in a small group. I personally love to use these in small groups so I can differentiate the levels. I use the Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade levels all in my 1st grade classroom. Check out the bundle by clicking on the picture below.
What is your favorite fun way to work on reading comprehension in your classroom?