Readers, Take Your Mark! Get Set for Activities to Improve Reading Skills!
Note: This blog was updated in April 2019
Reading may seem like a passive activity, but as you know, good readers are active participants. Successful reading comprehension requires readers to interact with what they’re reading to fully understand a text. Qualities of a good reader include the ability to predict, visualize, summarize, ask questions, infer, and make connections with the text.
If you’re looking for ways to get students excited about reading, check out these games and activities to improve reading skills. Each provides opportunities to improve reading comprehension and encourage reading proficiency while getting students up and out of their seats.
As the weather warms up, this is a perfect interactive reading comprehension game to play outside and it requires just a few supplies. Pick up an inexpensive beach ball, a permanent marker, and the story of your choice.
Mark each section of the beach ball with questions like “Beginning?” “End?” “Who?” “Where?” and “Favorite Part?” Whether in a small group or as a class, have the students toss the ball to each other, hot-potato-style. When you say stop, the person holding the ball must answer the question under his right hand and share his insights.
This digital download board game is a great way to encourage kids to talk about what they read — and groups can play together even if they’ve read different books. High order thinking questions focus on character, setting, summary, problem, solution, and so much more.
Think outside the box (or flash card) when it comes to teaching sight words. Try hopscotch or sight-word soccer to reinforce words for beginning readers and help strengthen reading proficiency.
Print out and construct this simple paper die. After reading a text as a class or as a small group, have readers take turns rolling the die and answering the questions. This game will improve reading skills and reading comprehension by encouraging students to focus on the characters, setting, and main events. It will also help them identify the narrator and use key details to retell the story.
This interactive reading game is a variation on musical chairs that lets kids get their wiggles out, experience books they might not normally read, and have fun at the same time!
Set up a circle of chairs (one for every student — no one gets left out in this game!) and ask each student to bring a book. It can be the book they are reading right now or their favorite book. Or, you can give them some fun parameters, such as a book they think no one else has read. For five minutes, students will read their book. When time is up, they will leave their book on their seat and shift to the right. They will then pick up that book and begin reading at any point. Repeat every five minutes.
Save some time at the end of the activity so students can ask questions or talk to others about the books they just sampled. They may learn to love a new author or a new genre!
Save the world from your teacher! Take inspiration from this teacher’s idea to motivate middle schoolers to solve puzzles while reviewing reading skills such as point of view, figurative language, and symbolism. She provides all the clues (and solutions) you need to run this reading skills activity in your classroom.
Use the newspaper to inspire students to find questions for a classroom trivia game based on current events. Create master categories such as Weather, Sports, Entertainment, Technology, or Countries. Then ask your students to use the newspaper to find facts and write trivia questions (and the answers!) that fall into each of these categories. Use these questions to play a classroom game of Jeopardy.