Ask any reading teacher, and they’d probably tell you that reading is the fun part! But for our students, reading can be a daunting task. When your students are growing and developing literacy skills, reading feels a lot more like work than it does fun. Fortunately, reading comprehension practice doesn’t have to be dull and boring. Let’s chat about ways to spice up reading comprehension in the classroom.
What is Reading Comprehension?
First things first, let’s get clear on what reading comprehension is. Reading comprehension is the ability to understand and interpret a text. A student may be able to literally read the words on a page, but if they can’t decipher the meaning – they can’t comprehend.
Imagine you are reading a children’s book in another language. You might be able to physically say the words on the page, and you may pick up some context from cognates (words that sound the same in English) and images. But if someone asked you to infer how a character was feeling or summarize what you read… You’ll probably be scratching your head.
That is the difference between reading and comprehending.
Why is Reading Comprehension Significant
As I’m sure you can guess, reading comprehension is significant to student understanding. Let’s go back to the example of reading a book in another language. If you had to read a science textbook in French or a nonfiction passage in German, would you be able to gather the information you needed? Increase your content knowledge? Probably not (unless you already speak those languages).
Comprehension is a huge barrier to our students’ growth. Without it, they will fall behind and lack in many areas. And it becomes a vicious cycle. A student struggles to comprehend → they find reading to be frustrating → they are more reluctant to read → their literacy skills develop even slower.
Luckily, you can break that pattern. We can bring excitement to reading and to reading comprehension practice, so that students can continually grow their skills!
Ways to Make Reading Comprehension Practice Fun
I want to share some easy, simple ways to make reading comprehension practice fun and engaging. With these activities, you don’t need a lot of materials, and you can implement them without too much prep.
#1 Make it a Game
Turning reading comprehension practice into a game can be really simple and effective. My only caution is to avoid rewarding students based on getting answers correct, but rather, reward students for participating and giving it their best effort. (Because as we know, some students really struggle with comprehension! Punishing them won’t make it better.)
One easy way to make it a game is by using digital websites like Kahoot!, Quizizz, and Gimkit. After reading a text, have students answer comprehension questions related to the text on one of these platforms. Add a mix of questions at different levels, not only so students can feel accomplished, but also so you can assess where they are at!
You can also use more traditional games like Jenga and Jeopardy with the same effect. I think these have a little bit more set-up involved, but they are great options if you want to go tech-free.
#2 Add in Movement
As teachers, we are usually begging for a moment to sit down! Our students on the other hand have been sitting for most of the day. Add some fun to your reading comprehension practice by getting students up and active.
For example, you can print reading comprehension questions out on sheets of paper and have students do a gallery walk to answer the questions. You might also do centers or stations, where each center focuses on a reading comprehension skill.
#3 Incorporate Brain Breaks
Let’s be real – reading comprehension practice can wear students out! If you spend your entire reading block practicing and practicing, students are likely to get frustrated and sloppy with their work.
That’s why I created Reading Comprehension Worksheets with built-in brain breaks! These worksheets chunk the workload for students and offer an incentive to work hard – because a fun break is waiting.
Here’s how it works! Students will work on a short activity related to a specific reading skill. This might be reading a short passage and answering questions, matching, finding a secret word, and more. After they complete the activity (should take about 5-15 minutes depending on the student), they will color part of an image.
All of the worksheets and images follow different themes, like a book fair or safari. Once students have completed all of their assignments, they will have a fully colored image!
The Reading Comprehension Worksheets cover skills like author’s purpose, parts of speech, retelling, sequencing, and more! Each skill set comes with 5 practice pages, 1 coloring page, and answer keys. The bundle includes 12 reading skills that you can use year round!
This assignment is simple to put together. Simply print the pages for students and place coloring utensils at each table (crayons, markers, and colored pencils all work). The coloring sheet also makes it easy to check student progress, since they color in additional areas as they finish a reading comprehension practice page.
Use these Reading Comprehension Worksheets as independent work, small group work, or make it a game for the entire class! You can print the coloring page so it is large and hang it on the board. Whichever group finishes first can color the corresponding image on the post.
I hope you find some useful ideas here to make reading comprehension practice fun and engaging in your classroom! Ultimately, our students will learn more and retain information when they are enjoying themselves.