According to the Center for Public Education, “Reading is the Open Sesame for acquiring knowledge: learn to read, and you can read to learn just about anything.”
As teachers, we have the unique privilege of shaping young minds and fostering a lifelong love for learning. Among the essential skills we impart to our students, reading stands out as the foundation for all future academic success.
To make the learning journey enjoyable and engaging, we must explore innovative and captivating reading activities.
In this article, we will delve into fascinating reading activities that will spark the imagination of elementary students and pave the way for their literary growth.
Thus, as effective reading teachers, we should equip ourselves with fascinating reading activities for elementary students to captivate their interests instantly!
Long before formally entering school, most of our pupils have already begun the process of learning how to read. Primarily, parents take this role but once the pupils are already in school, the teacher takes responsibility.
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Most of the pupils are well-prepared to learn the reading skill but some are struggling to produce and decode sounds. Amazing parents devote their time to helping their kids expand their vocabulary.
More oftentimes, they communicate using the English language so it would be easy for the child to recognize words. This is quite helpful as most reading materials are in English.
Besides, English is one of the major content areas that our pupils should master. The reading skill that the pupils show is supported by the pupil’s previous vocabulary acquisition and background knowledge.
The authentic experiences of our young readers at home are sure-fire manifestations that they love to develop their reading skills more!
Reading as an Important Skill
Reading is a necessary skill to be taught in school. It is one of the important skills needed for students to master in order to succeed both in their personal and academic life.
That is why English teachers just like you and me, are deeply challenged to become efficient and highly competent reading teachers to make our students become proficient readers. Our reading strategies are highly supported by our best teaching strategies which have intense effects on our young learners.
Furthermore, reading is a form of language processing. It is a complex cognitive process that involves producing sounds, pronouncing, and recognizing letter-sound relationships. Similarly, teaching our pupils to read is equally a complex process.
According to Kate DiCamillo, “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” Thus, as reading teachers let’s all make reading activities enjoyable.
As teachers, we are ultimately responsible for teaching our pupils not just how to read but also how to enjoy reading. Learners have to be encouraged to read and develop a passion for reading.
Teaching reading, especially to English Language Learners, is quite complicated. As the pupils are improving their English language proficiency, they have first to produce sounds and pronounce words correctly. It requires tremendous effort from the teachers and a huge interest from the readers.
We all recognize that reading is one of the macro skills that pupils in elementary school should master. They have to prepare themselves for more complex texts at a higher level of education.
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Pupils in the classroom display varied reading styles, abilities, and interests. However, there are research-backed reading strategies that can be tapped by teachers to make pupils’ reading experiences meaningful.
Very well, successful reading teachers make use of different engaging reading activities that will make learners love to read even more.
As we take charge of the early stages of reading, let’s do our best to teach reading concepts without stressing our young readers.
Read on to see insightful and highly motivating reading activities that your pupils will surely enjoy.
10 Fascinating Reading Activities for Elementary Students
1. Read Me a Story
It is my habit every morning to have preliminary activities. The class is divided into 5 groups. Each group will be assigned to lead the morning activity on a specific day. A group is assigned every day and they divide the tasks among themselves.
Each group has to choose a leader who will monitor and assign tasks to the members. The different task assignments are: to read a story (a fable, parable, anecdote), to pick out the dialogues that convey positive emotions, and to choose difficult words from the story.
For vocabulary building, another member of the group will present the difficult words found in the story and will give the definitions while indicating the part of speech of each vocabulary word. These things are to be flashed onto a screen or simply to be written on the board.
To involve the rest of the class, they are to use the words in a meaningful context. After reading the story, the leader will ask the rest of the class about the lesson they got from the selection. The preliminary activity will end with a thought of the day that is relevant to the morale in the story.
Isn’t it an amazing opportunity for our learners to interact? Of course, the reading material to be used should fit the level and ability of the learners.
2. Join the National Reading Month Activity
To observe National Reading Month, I enjoin my pupils to join the Synchronized Story Reading Time. The Department of Education will set the exact time to read the chosen story. It’s a nationwide program and children are more likely very excited to join in the synchronized reading activity.
Being active participants, the children are to stay on the school grounds with their copies of the reading material. I arrange them so they will be captivating for a photo opportunity.
The activity is strictly monitored by education personnel to make sure that kids develop a great love for reading. Of course, I am there to support them as they join the national reading time.
Questions about the story will be raised only in the classroom and the learners will joyfully take the challenge of answering the questions.
To make it more interactive, learners are to take turns in the question and answer. The more they participate, the more they understand the reading material.
As the reading teacher, I make modifications as to the manner of the presentation of their answers. It can be done through a presentation by acting out their favorite parts of the story. Eventually, they have to be asked about the important lesson they learn from the story.
3. The Poet in an Acrostic Way
Teaching grammar lessons to our pupils will be quite heavy on their part. To keep them engaged with the learning competencies in grammar, we can make use of poetry.
This manner will make our lesson interesting. For example, in a review of adjectives, we can make use of Acrostic Poems. Think of a word that somehow fits the lesson and develops it into an acrostic poem.
Have your learners read the Acrostic Poems. You can make modifications if you like. To make the reading session interactive, you might as well require them to rap the Acrostic Poem and allow them to work in groups.
How do we make sure that we hit the objective of the activity? After reading, the learners are to pick out the adjectives. This can be an enrichment activity in our lesson on adjectives.
For higher-level readers, we can invite them to write their acrostic poems. Give your learners the topic and have them write the word vertically on their paper.
Before they write their acrostic poems, they have to brainstorm how to develop the given word or topic. This will make the activity much more enjoyable.
The learner’s creativity and intelligence will be tapped in this activity for they will expound on each letter of the word developing it into a sentence using an adjective. This can be done by the 5th and 6th graders.
4. Let’s Travel! Shared Reading Time
As reading teachers who are sincere in making reading an interactive activity, we can take in the shared reading time. How do I do this?
You all need picture books. Then, take your class to another room. This should be a 20-30 minute reading activity. To make the reading session exciting, your class has to be paired with a higher class.
Then, each class will take turns reading the picture books. This activity will not only strengthen the pupil’s love for reading but will also foster good relationships among other pupils.
On a more interesting note, ask a volunteer reader in your class to read storybooks or picture books to your chosen class at a higher level. Choose a class that is a year higher than the class you are handling.
To foster collaboration, you have to plan the activity in advance with the reading teacher of your chosen class so he/she can also choose a volunteer reader from his/her class.
After each reading session, you can allow students to interact by having them discuss the important lessons conveyed in the reading material. This can be a perfect avenue for learning good values which are of great moral importance.
The activity will deepen the students’ interest in reading, especially those at the lower level. They will be given an idea of what to expect in the reading materials at a higher level. Not only that, but through this activity, we are also helping our students gain the confidence they need.
Isn’t it interesting to see our students love reading while gaining new friends as they go along?
5. Share a BOOK Challenge
You can use the hashtag #SharingIsLoving! All learners bring their favorite storybooks to school. This is a very exciting reading activity. Our learners just can’t wait to share their favorites!
The storybooks that the children bring are to be displayed in the room’s mini-library.
Then, they are to be given time to walk through and pick their most interesting storybook and bring it to their seats for the reading session.
Ask volunteers to share a story up front. Allow the learner to bring the storybook so he can look into it from time to time as he/she narrates the story before his/her classmates.
This activity will surely boost pupils’ confidence in standing in front of the classroom for meaningful sharing. As teachers, we have to be ready with our rewards of praise. The more we praise them for the work done, the more they increase their love for reading.
6. Help a Reader
The presence of struggling readers in our class should not be disregarded. Remember, it is our ultimate job to help our pupils learn how to read.
Tap the help of the independent readers in your class. They are to help their peers and this will make their bond as classmates stronger.
To keep organized, we can outline a reading schedule intended as remediation for learners with difficulties in reading. Allow each independent reader in your class to choose and adopt the learner they are going to assist.
7. Total Blackout!
This will pose a greater challenge to our learners as they will not use their gadgets the whole day! To focus on the reading challenge, they have to live a day without electronic entertainment!
Then, as reading teachers we have to give our full support as these children choose the storybooks they will read. We have to list down the books being read and indicate how many of them have chosen the same storybooks.
To make this activity a great success, you can send communication to the parents about your planned activity. State the objectives of the activity and how it should be done.
For a more valuable impact of the total blackout activity, you can as well indicate in your letter the involvement of the parents. You encourage them to apply for total blackout activity at least once a day on the weekends.
When I do this in my class, I use the communication notebook of my students for monitoring. I do it once a month. I require them to have a total blackout on the weekends. They are free to choose whether to have it on a Saturday or Sunday and which week of the month. This is to make them more comfortable in their time.
To monitor the activity, the parents have to write in the communication notebook of their children. They have to indicate the title of the storybooks read, the time of reading, and the best reactions of the child regarding the story. For veracity, the parents and the children have to affix their signatures in the communication notebook.
8. Make Use of Reading Games
To help our young readers enhance their early reading skills, we can make use of reading games. This will engage our young readers to rekindle their love for reading as most of them find reading tedious and challenging.
Insert more fun and make the whole reading scenario really fantastic!
This activity will enhance the child’s ability for word recognition, production of letter sounds, spelling patterns, and overall reading competence to become successful young readers.
As you proceed with the activity, you have to carefully choose the words to be used from the storybooks your children have already read.
Here are examples of reading games and activities you might as well apply in your class:
Keep Me Matched!
3x 5 Index Cards, ( cardboard or illustration boards will do), Pentel pens
- Print the chosen words on the index cards.
- Shuffle the cards and face down, and lay them down neatly on the table.
- Have your readers take turns turning two cards at a time.
- Have each child read the words aloud. If the words match, the child takes the cards and the points are to be recorded by the teacher.
- As the child gets the correct matched words, he now takes the second turn and if the words don’t match, the cards will be replaced by the teacher. Still, the cards are laid facing down.
- So, the children take turns matching the cards, and the child who has the most number of matched words wins!
9. Tell Me a Story!
To develop our young reader’s enthusiasm to read, we teachers should make their reading experiences less stressful. We have to make them love reading not as a task but just by itself.
In this fun reading activity, you will need storybooks as our learners really love them. This activity will surely ignite their reading interests as most of them love to listen to stories.
Here are the steps:
- Take a turn reading the storybook to your young readers. As you do it, pause occasionally and ask them questions like what do you think will happen next? Or are you excited to hear more about the princess?
- Make the story-reading session captivating by asking interesting questions as you go along.
- Break the story into parts and insert a question and answer with your listeners. However, you have to make sure that you are breaking the flow of the story smoothly to keep the interest of your listeners.
- Talk about the story interestingly. Relate the story to the experiences of the learners.
- Give the floor to the children. Let each child share stories like those you have shared. Make the activity engaging by showing your enthusiasm as you listen to them.
- Listen closely and show great interest as the child narrates. Allow the child to express himself or herself.
- To help your children improve their language skills, you can ask questions for them to answer.
- Let the children explain parts of the story. This will enrich their vocabulary and help them enhance their pronunciation.
- To involve the parents, you can have this activity in one of your school’s reading programs. Invite parents and have them as the audience for the reading activity. This will also allow them to witness the reading performance of their children.
- To make it more interesting, ask volunteer parents to read storybooks to their children.
10. Pick and Portray!
Take this as an interesting reading activity. Surely, portraying story characters will keep kids reading. This will keep young readers active! As I do this in my class, I take the floor by reading an interesting story to my young listeners.
To keep them engrossed, I choose a storybook with many dialogues. I read each line with appropriate emotions and expressions to keep my pupils riveted. Afterward, I will ask a volunteer to read the story again. I encourage my readers to interpret the lines in the story by reading with feelings and proper emotions.
Then, I take in the focus of the activity. I let my pupils choose their favorite characters in the story be it a major or a minor character. As the pupils portray their favorite characters, I can see their deep connection to the material read.
I notice that as my learners hang out with their chosen literary characters, they are enticed to read more storybooks. At the same time, they are improving their reading fluency.
Practical Reading Acts
- Reader’s Theater
Transform classic stories and books into live performances with “Reader’s Theater.” Divide the students into groups and assign them different roles, allowing them to act out the dialogues and scenes. This activity nurtures comprehension, fluency, and teamwork while making the texts come alive.
- Book Character Dress-up Day
Organize a “Book Character Dress-up Day” where students can come to school dressed as their favorite book characters. This activity promotes reading engagement as students connect emotionally with the characters they admire. It also fosters a sense of community and excitement about books.
- Mystery Reading Box
Introduce the element of surprise with the “Mystery Reading Box.” Fill a box with carefully selected books, and every week, have a student randomly choose one to read. By exploring unknown stories, students broaden their literary horizons and develop curiosity about new genres.
- Creative Bookmarks
Engage students’ artistic side with “Creative Bookmarks.” Provide materials for them to design personalized bookmarks inspired by the books they’re reading. Not only will they have a fun keepsake, but these bookmarks will also remind them of the joy of reading.
- Reading Challenges and Rewards
Fuel a healthy sense of competition by setting up “Reading Challenges and Rewards.” Create achievable reading goals and reward students with certificates, stickers, or small prizes when they reach them. This instills a sense of accomplishment and motivates students to keep reading.
How to Get Students Interested in Reading?
There are many different ways to get students interested in reading and help improve their comprehension skills. One way is to use fun activities that keep students engaged in the material. Here are a few ideas:
- Book clubs – Have students read the same book and then meet to discuss it together. This is a great way for students to share their thoughts and opinions on the text, as well as practice their speaking and listening skills.
- Reading scavenger hunts – Give students a list of items or questions that they must find/answer while reading a particular passage or chapter. This will help them focus on the important details and better understand the story overall.
- Reading quizzes – A fun way to test comprehension is by giving students quizzes after they finish reading a book. This allows you to see which parts of the story were most confusing or difficult for them to understand, and you can then go over these areas again in class.
- Creative assignments – Sometimes it’s fun for students to take what they’ve learned and put it into a new format. This can be a creative writing assignment, a project where they create a new product or service, or even a presentation.
- Games – Online games or even board games can be a fun way to learn new information. For example, students could play a game where they have to identify different countries on a map or give the capital of a particular country.
In a Nutshell…
As reading teachers, we can’t deny the fact that learning how to read is a bit challenging especially for struggling readers. They need our support and sincerity. Therefore, let’s help one another to make our young learners become competent readers!
As educators, let us embrace these creative methods to make the world of reading an enthralling journey for young minds, nurturing a love for books that will last a lifetime. Happy reading!