Keeping Reading Comprehension Fun
As the title suggests, the key to positive reading comprehension skills is ensuring your young reader is enjoying the act of reading. He or she must be both comfortable with the material being read, as well as with the activity of reading. Once these two components have been achieved there are a number of ways to improve and enhance the young reader's ability to comprehend the nuances of the material being read, while not diminishing the activity of reading by adding stresses of perceived expectation. The Rhythm of Reading offers five key concepts to aid the young reader in improving comprehension skills. Try using some of these Elementary reading comprehension games to help those five simple steps of reading get reinforced.
Visualization: When presenting a story to the young reader, have them seated around you with a number of object cut-outs to use as choices with which they can help paint a picture of the story as either an individual, or a class perception. For example, what does the Cat in the Hat look like? What color is his hat? Is he tall or short? What does the house in the story look like? With prepared felt cut-outs that have Velcro backing, these pictures can be placed on a felt board and paint a unique picture for the student and the class, helping to develop both individual as well as group perception of the stories being read.
Pause: Be in the Moment: Games like Twister are wonderful ways to get children up and active. With a few minor changes, using this game is also an outstanding way to enhance reading comprehension. Prior to reading the story, simply place key nouns over a portion of the twister color to which the noun applies. (Little Red Riding Hood's red cloak, or a yellow sun, green grass, etc.) A simple adjustment of the spinner means only to print up those words under the correct color. As students play the game they are reaching for colors related to key components of the story, having fun, and remembering portions of the story as you re-read the portion of the story to which they are now 'twisting'.
Feel - Embrace the Emotions of the Characters: Allow the students to be active participants in the story being told. Playtime can also be theater time, where students can bring in costumes and props and act as the characters while they read the story. This wonderful form of play allows them to become closer to the character in the story gaining not only a greater understanding of the story but a deeper appreciation of the character they play.
If in Doubt - Dheck - or use a Dictionary! Word games are loads of fun, especially when they are theme based! A simple adaptation to the age old game of 'I Spy' is a fantastic way of not only enhancing comprehension of the story, but also of expanding vocabulary. With some large pictures, each representing a different portion of the story, students can "spy" components of the story. The student who guesses correctly can talk about what the spied item has to do on the story, while the student who chose to spy the item can also talk about why he or she picked it to be spied.
Fear Not! The key to this step is patience. Each child's journey toward reading comprehension will be different. Some children will pick up nuances with great speed with I Spy, while others will excel at visualization. Some might love the physical activity involved with the revised Twister, while others might feel shy about acting out a story. Allowing each child to embrace his or her own choice of activity enables each student to gain self confidence while enhancing individual reading comprehension at a pace that is uniquely suited for each participant. It also allows students to enjoy each other's talents and share in all the fun!
For a student, learning should always be fun, not feared. Offering a few simple and fun activities is an excellent way of reinforcing the young reader's comprehension skills as well as ensuring a love of learning and joy of reading that will last a lifetime.