Reading Comprehension Activities

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4 reading comprehension activities that must be part of daily lesson plans. These double up as interventions as well as boosting ESL literacy skills.

Well-developed instructional activities scaffold support for readers before, during and after the lesson.  Teachers start with a framework to help students understand the purpose for reading a text.

  • Is it for enjoyment?
  • To gain information? 
  • To persuade your students to consider another point of view?

reading comprehension activities

During the lesson teachers also integrate specific skils, such as learning Tier 2 vocabulary words or use of figurative language during the lesson.

After the lesson, it is time for summarizing and responding. This is when teachers must evaluate how much meaning was actually "gleaned" from the text by the students.

Easy Reading Comprehension Activities

Use the literacy strategies below as guided reading lessons and take your students deeper into understanding what they read.

(Or take a peek at Vocabulary Sentences Using Sentence Frames - highly effective and easy to do!).

Read Aloud

A purposeful read aloud is the best technique out of all reading comprehension activities.

A key element of teaching reading strategies with an interactive read aloud is to understand how a variety of genres work. Not all are "built" the same, and many students have difficulty conceptualizing the difference between reading a story and reading a factual text.

This is often used when teaching reading strategies during guided reading mini-lessons.

Children who love to listen to stories are generally better readers. Try to read aloud at least three to four times per day. Choose books that kids love (and they aren't always the same ones you do). There will be plenty of time to choose deep, meaningful books later on. If your kids don't enjoy reading, you first need to hook them before you can do anything else.

Click here for a download of great books to use for interactive read alouds.

Visualizing the Text

Often children view listening to or reading a text like a train that is roaring by them. They hear or read the words but do not slow down to envision what is actually happening.

Reading intervention strategies that generate mental images are critical for these kids to make gains. Students will find that they will not create the same images as their peers, thus bringing to light the fact that reading is a creative activity.

Students who cannot generate a mental image of a text need to be taught specifically how to do it.

Select a passage that has rich, descriptive language. Read it aloud, and pause after each sentence. Think aloud to the class the images you are creating in your mind. After reading the passage, tell the class about your image from the text and invite them to add to it, or change it to fit what they saw.


The art of predicting is a critical reading comprehension activities. Students predictions will be based on their background knowledge of the subject matter, so be sure to build it appropriately.

Being able to predict what will happen in a text sets up scaffolding for the students to build upon. Students should make predictions using the elements of the text, such as title, pictures, table of contents, and the back cover.

Continue making predictions as you read the story. Record these predictions on a T-Chart and revisit them during and after reading the text. A simple check-mark beside each prediction is enough to verify if the predictions were accurate or not.

Story Mapping or Summarizing

One of the goals of teaching reading strategies is to help students be able to accurately summarize a text.

Story mapping is one of the reading comprehension activities that visually demonstrates a summary or retelling. A story map focuses on story elements: characters, setting, problem and solution. If I am working on a retelling, I will also include the main events.

To begin story mapping, choose a simple text with clear elements and few minor problems. This will make it easier for your students to conceptualize.

You can use a summary chart (pdf file) or draw each part out on large paper. Allow the students to illustrate each story element, then put it together and orally retell the story.

When you are reading chapter books, you can add to the story map after every chapter or two. 

You will soon find that your map is lending itself to a written retelling. I also like to write the summary with the class first, then cut it apart, add in the main events, and put it all back together.

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