Students are headed back to school, and that means that kids of all ages will (hopefully) have their noses buried in books! Reading for pleasure can be a rewarding way to spark a student’s imagination, but what about assigned reading passages in class? Instead of the same old routine of providing reading passages and listening to the groans, here are some creative new ways to make dull reading passages a thing of the past!
At the end of the day, reading passages are rather cut-and-dry, just text on a page. What better way to make reading fun than to enhance the activity? Many students benefit from keeping their hands busy while reading, as it keeps their minds activated and ready to absorb the information they’re reading!
Invite students to color-code important keywords and phrases.
If the class is reading about recycling, ask them to use green or blue highlighters to find key vocabulary, or commonly repeated phrases that will stick in their brain. If the students are reading about Ancient Greece, offer different colors for different nouns—one color for important people, one color for important places, another color for key things.
A bright and colorful reading passage is fun for the eyes and fun to make!
While reading important passages, students can also find fun by adding their own annotations. With each paragraph, invite students to write down a thought or two. Maybe they have questions about what they’re reading—excellent!
Allow them to make notes off to the side and return to those questions in hopes that they will have either found answers by reading on further, or that they are interested in researching further.
Making annotations could also be fun or helpful if the reading passage was passed along to another student!
Find supplemental materials that can support your reading passage! Is your reading passage about the water cycle? Are you assigning your students a novel study on Wonder? There are interactive notebooks created by teachers for teachers to enhance, even to transform, the way that students read, and they allow students to color and to annotate their work! If students are able to color in the bodies of water and clouds and arrows of the water cycle, cut out and lift flaps for key vocabulary, or create their own character cards for their novel, their engagement will not only skyrocket—they’ll be having fun! When a student has supplemental resources at their fingertips to keep things fresh, reading passages become no problem.
Socializing while reading can be a fun, though seemingly unconventional, way to spark interest in the classroom no matter the text topic. Students are not often invited to openly converse and discuss while reading—the discussions typically occur afterwards. To facilitate comprehension and to make reading more enjoyable, allow students to read the passages together and chat with one another during their reading time. Likewise, fun discussions can happen when students are able to make connections between the reading passage on the desk in front of them and the happenings of the real world. If students are able to connect deforestation and pollution to current day melting icebergs or rainforest fires, if they are able to find video clips or news stories related to the informational text they are assigned, they have a better chance of retaining the important key points of the passage.
Invite students to listen! Though it may seem simple, many students have higher listening comprehension skills and may benefit from the auditory input while reading the same text in front of them. Reading the passages aloud with students may also help to encourage questions along the way to improve understanding, and to hold the interest of the group! Gather students together in groups to popcorn read each paragraph, changing the reader each time. Pause after each paragraph and have students ask one another comprehension questions to see who was paying attention!
Is your reading passage so vivid that you can see it in your head? Then make it happen! Assign groups of students to different portions of the reading passage, and ask them to come up with a way to act out their part of the passage. Encourage creativity, even makeshift props, and see what the students can generate. Have each group present in chronological order based on the reading passage, and ask students to follow along as the presenting group reads their portion aloud while showing off their acting skills.
So the next day that you step into the classroom with a reading passage at-the-ready, consider the students before you. What kind of learners are they? Do they enjoy group work? Do their faces light up when they’re offered a box of crayons and some scissors? When you introduce the assignment of a reading passage with a supplemental activity, gauge your student response—see what they like best! And then sit back and enjoy the sound of brains at work and the sight of smiles on dozens of faces as they engage with the reading passage before them.
Here are two FREE Reading Passages resources to use while implementing these strategies with your students!
Teaching Resources you might be interested in:
***Didn’t find the reading passage resources you were looking for? There will be many more ideas and resources to come! Follow StudentSavvy on TpT to receive updates for the next set of teaching resources! 🙂