50 English Reading Activities
Reading should not happen in isolation, it should be integrated with other skills to improve the holistic well-being of our students. If it is accompanied by comprehension, speaking and creative use of the language, students will evolve into stronger individuals with a set of skills that will make them successful in their future pursuits.
Therefore teaching reading skills and adding it to other activities should be an integral to every teacher’s arsenal.
Reading for Fluency and Comprehension
Fluency out loud to check pronunciation
Comprehension is best when reading alone or along with the group
Reading should happen in 3 phases:
Pre-reading – Where you prepare the student for the story
While-reading: Reading with others and checking understanding during
Post-reading: Reflecting on what they have read
Picking a text – Length, target language, relevant or interesting, do you have any related materials and activities to incorporate?
Today I’m going to share 50 activities that you can use during each of these 3 phases with any text.
1. Most reading have a picture or photo. Ask students questions on it.
2. Elicit vocabulary. What can they expect in the reading? Pre-teach Keywords
3. Author and Title – What do they expect? Any predictions. Predict
4. The Tarantino – Read the end and predict the beginning
The Preview – Skim the first paragraph.
The Spoiler – Scan the whole story for words that pop up.
5. Read aloud – Students are put in groups and go to the front. They read the passage, sentence by sentence or word by word. If someone makes a mistake, mispronounce or is too slow, they sit down and the other group continues. It’s really fun and the kids get competitive.
6. Reading race – Pin parts of the story or on one side of the room. Students get a sheet of paper and have to alternate to run to the wall and read to find the answer. The reason we place pieces is so that they don’t read the whole reading and then race back.
7. Whisper race – Make teams. Read and whisper it along the line. The last student writes it on the board. Let the students in each team organize their own position. It gives them a sense of authority and gets them invested.
8. Role play – Break the class into groups. Write the characters and narrator on the board. Each student gets a character to read and other parts can be alternately read by other students. Tell them to discuss it afterwards because you will check comprehension. You will see the group work together to understand the material.
9. Blank out keywords – Erase certain words and students have to guess what it is
10. Pieces – Cut the reading up into different pieces (You can also use multiple stories), after reading they go around the class and find their partners to reassemble the story correctly.
11. Scrambled sentences – Cut up sentences or paragraphs and ask students to arrange them correctly
12. Add misspelled words – Let students circle them while reading
13. Stop before the end! – Stop and discuss what the possible ending will be – brainstorm (good idea for a book like Holes)
14. Discussion about the text. Comprehension questions – Students can quiz each other. Ask them to create 10 questions to ask their partner.
15. Summarize the text. Ask students to retell the story by paraphrasing. Summarize the main idea of each paragraph.
16. Real life – Share a similar situation from your life. Or you can compare it to another story or movie, what are the differences and similarities.
17. Ask students to what the key words mean in context of the reading? Why was it important to include.
18. Play Taboo with the keywords – Students have to explain the word without using it.
19. Rewrite the story for kids. Add illustrations.
20. Debate – Make sure it is structured. I will do a video for teaching basic debate later.
21. Role play – Role-play scenes, interview a character from the story
22. Alternate ending – Students write/act out an alternate ending. Write a missing part of the story.
23. Eulogy for the characters – A bit dark but students can look into the personality and life of each character more deeply
24. Students search for new/good words and use them in new sentences.
25. Students write fake definitions and another team should guess the correct one. 2 groups. Give 5 words. They have to write a few fake definitions for the other team to guess
26. Find 5 irregular verbs – Write sentences in past, present and future tense
27. Find 10 adjectives and write down their antonyms or synonyms
28. Create a timeline, diorama (model) or character collage – Creative work
29. Imagine a different story with the same title.
30. Write a character’s diary. Create a new character for the story.
31. Alternate ending. Draw a picture and comment
32. Rewrite the story from a different point of view. Other character or 1st person.
33. “The most” list – Write a list of… funniest events, saddest, surprising,
34. Think of a title for each paragraph
35. Underline Pronouns (he, she, it) ask students what they refer to
36. Write a letter to the main character
37. Draw a story map – It’s a graphic organizer to help students learn the elements of a story
38. Poster for if the story was a movie
39. Create and act out new dialogue between characters
40. Find words and replace them with synonyms or something funny
41. Be a reporter (Practice direct speech). Report on author’s life
42. Mime words or opposites
43. Secret word – Think of a word and your partner has to guess what it is
44. Act out scenes. Perform a “lost” scene from the story
45. Song or dance about book
46. Pair Interview of author or character
47. Sing the text to well know tunes!
48. Double Dollars – make pairs beginning with same letter – angry adult, beautiful butterfly
49. Who said that? – Give sentences and students guess the speaker
50. Retell the story – Students sit in a circle and paraphrase the book. You can give them tips if they struggle to refresh their memory
One thing that most successful language learners have in common is that they are all dedicated readers and it is up to us as teachers to inspire them, and guide them to becoming eager booklovers.
Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are leaders. If we do our jobs right, we will raise a generation of open-minded, critical thinkers that will take humanity, and the world to a higher level.
So thank to to all the teachers out, making enthusiastic readers out of all your students.