Reading comprehension goes beyond read and answer activities, but how do you incorporate
other ideas into your teaching so that you can accurately access students’ understanding?
With so many different reading strategies out there, it can be challenging to know which ones are
the most effective. And, while they may be effective, will they actually work for your students?
We asked the veteran educators in our group, Mrs. D’s VIPs, to share their insights and wisdom
on comprehension activities. Their suggestions are student-tested and teacher-approved.
While not all of the ideas may work for your classroom, there are some great suggestions on how to
make comprehension activities more engaging. Read the ideas below and check out the
teachers’ original comments in the group post!
Reading Comprehension Activities That Work
Try Close Reading
Instead of the old stand-by read-and-answer questions, try close reading strategies instead.
They encourage students to break down the text and get a better understanding of what is
happening and why. It can also be more hands-on, which makes it a lot more engaging for
Read to Perform a Task
Comprehension is critical when you have to do a task. Make your reading units more exciting by
creating passages that explain how to do something.
Students can then demonstrate their understanding by performing the task and completing the activity. The passages can range from cooking directions to assembling a shelf or creating an account on a new math practice game site. No matter what the task is, you will be able to quickly and accurately assess their comprehension.
Visualize & Verbalize
For students who struggle with reading, visualizing and verbalizing is an excellent, research-
based way to develop comprehension. It asks the students to form a picture in their minds of
what is happening as they read. They are then asked to verbalize what they are imagining or
seeing occur in the story based on what they are reading.
Teaching students how to visualize and verbalize goes through a series of steps to help them build the skills successfully. Still, it is a technique worth researching and implementing with your struggling readers!
Sequence the Story
Hands-on or digital sequencing cards are great for testing reading comprehension. Have students place
the cards in the order in which things happened in the story. It is an easy way to test their
understanding of the events, but it also provides a hands-on aspect that many students need and
Sentence by Sentence
Rather than focusing on the story as a whole, break down students’ comprehension practice
sentence by sentence. This can be as simple as reading a sentence and talking about what was
just read. It can also be taking a few sentences and checking for overall understanding.
Breaking comprehension checks down into smaller, bite-sized pieces makes the task seem less
formidable to students and for you as the teacher as well!
What are some of your favorite reading comprehension activities that go beyond the read-and-answer method that is so common? How do you assess your students’ understanding while also
keeping them active and engaged? Share your ideas in the comments below or in our Facebook