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Ways to Make Reading Comprehension FUN

When you make reading comprehension fun for students, they are more likely to enjoy the practice and want to improve.

Reading comprehension practice is ongoing in elementary school. 

As one of the most standard-heavy skills in ELA Common Core, reading comprehension includes a variety of sub-skills that students need to practice.

Because of its importance to both the standards and to life in general, helping students with reading comprehension is a noble feat. Even though we understand the long-lasting importance of reading comprehension, students often get bored doing reading comprehension practice.

As with most types of skills that we practice frequently, we have to find ways to make reading comprehension fun. We have to keep it fresh.

Today, let’s talk about some strategies and resources you can use to keep your reading comprehension practice fresh for your upper elementary students.

Make Reading Comprehension Fun with these 5 Strategies

#1 | High-Interest Texts

This one may seem obvious, but seriously, we have got to get good texts into students’ hands.

If you are trying to blend content literacy and foundational literacy together, then you may feel like you need to stick with specific topics like Ancient Rome, Early American Settlers, or some other similar historical topic, but sometimes you need to pick out some reading practice that is just on fun, high-interest topics… just because.

This could be holiday-themed topics like the ones we use in our Close Reads or high-interest topics like technology, sports, or dance. These kinds of topics are ones that students are naturally drawn to, and they want to read and learn about.

We have Close Reading passages on various topics, including:

Ways to make reading comprehension fun

#2 | Mystery Pictures

Our Close Reads with Mystery Pictures are designed to up-level what could normally be redundant reading comprehension practice with colorable pictures related to the theme of the passage.

The mystery pictures work in the following way: When a student answers a reading comprehension question about a passage, their answer is assigned a color. Students then color in any spot that is labeled with that question number with the color they chose. 

If their answers are correct, when they’re done, they’ll reveal a mystery picture aligned with the passage’s theme.

#3 | Highlighters

Use highlighters to help students identify different elements within a reading passage. Using different colors can help students see how a passage is written. 

For example, figurative language examples may be highlighted with purple, and context clues for vocabulary terms may be highlighted in yellow. 

Develop a color code for different sub-skills that fall under reading comprehension, and give students time to work through a passage with these colors at the ready. See what they can identify and then analyze the results to see if they notice any patterns or rules emerge.

#4 | Stickers

Stickers are always a fun way to engage students. They are inexpensive and can add a little extra pizzazz to ordinary activities. When we do close reading (like in these resources), we often use stickers as markers to identify where we are observing different elements in a text. 

In my classes, students will also use stickers to check off each step in their close reading process.

Get a variety of smaller stickers that don’t take up too much space. Simple smiley-faced stickers or any other color-coordinated stickers you can find are great to have on hand.

Ways to make reading comprehension fun

#5 | Post-Its

As teachers, I think we all can appreciate the excitement of some well-used Post-it notes. I always get excited when I get to purchase some new Post-its to use as I’m thinking through a concept or brainstorming some fresh ideas.

But Post-its can also be used to make reading comprehension fun. 

Give students their own special Post-its to use as they make notes within their texts. Ask them to use their Post-its to label questions they have about particular parts of a text, identify words they want to define, or even to point out places where they identified figurative language being used.

Post-its, like highlighters, are everyday supplies for teachers, but for students, they are colorful mystery markers that can add just a little bit of excitement to a task that might otherwise feel redundant.

#6 | Extend the Reading with a Fun Activity

As you’re planning ways to make reading comprehension fun throughout the year, consider which passages or short stories you may be able to extend with a fun activity.

This may look like drawing a picture of the setting or asking students to use the details of the text to create a movie cover for the story. 

These small, creative projects will require students to read the passage or story multiple times in search of details and will draw their attention to parts of the reading that they might not have noticed upon first reading.

#7 | Reading Scavenger Hunt

Before reading a passage or story, give students a checklist of things they need to find or identify as they read.

This list may include different kinds of figurative language, examples of proper nouns being used, different sentence structures, keywords that are used to identify the type of writing they’re working with, or anything else you may want them to practice finding.

This is a great idea for test prep review as students have already spent time on all the skills and are now in identification and practice mode.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to use one of the 7 ideas on this list to make reading comprehension fun with your elementary students, and maybe you’ll be able to use several throughout the year. 

If you’re looking for some good reading comprehension test prep activities, we also have a blog post about that. Click here to read more about some of our creative ideas for reading test prep!

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