While almost all of us can read, the speed with which we can read and comprehend what we are reading is very important. Hence, as a teacher, it is very important that you ensure that the students in your class take up reading comprehension as an important subject early on so that they do not face problems as they grow older.
They have to provide inputs as to why they felt the book was good or why was it not up to the mark. They can also be asked to justify why they would recommend this book to a friend and also if they have learned something new from the book.
The advantage of this activity is that only the students read the book, they are forced to read it to understand and talk about the book. They have to talk about the book and not about what is in the book. This will also help increase their communication skills and will also provide them the confidence to address their classmates or a gathering.
These days, with the advent of the Internet, students belonging to a higher grade can be asked to post their reviews on Amazon or GeoCities. This will help increase their sense of accomplishment.
Secret Story Words
There is this activity that was submitted by Janice Roehr to a newsletter. After reading out a story to the class, she writes down names, places, and vocabulary words from the story on small pieces of paper and pins them on the backs of the students.
The students then wander around the class and ask for clues as to what is pinned on their backs from fellow students who can respond to an answer in either yes or no. Once a student has identified the word, they have to return their seats and write down the significance of the word in the story.
This is a brilliant idea that will compel students (the younger the better, as they will be more enthusiastic) to listen to every detail in the story. For the students in higher grades, you can select a difficult story with a large number of characters and difficult words.
Another interesting activity was submitted by Donna Florek to a newsletter. Before reading out a chapter to the class, she reads out the title of the chapter and encourages the students to predict what is going to happen and what questions will be answered in the chapter.
For this activity to be a success, it is very important that none of the students have read the book or are aware of the story. This is a great activity that will help ensure that the students are in tune and totally engrossed on the story. This activity can also be followed with the 'Alternative Endings' activity.
Another activity that you can introduce in the higher grades is to ask students to come up with alternate endings to a story that they have read, along with reasons to justify the proposed ending. These will help students focus on the story and also use their imaginations to come up with alternate endings.
Hope you have found these activities useful. The key is to engage students in an activity that makes learning fun.