If you’re looking for some new ideas for teaching reading comprehension, I wanted to share some tips today! Teaching digitally, virtually, and hybrid is HARD. Teaching reading in the best circumstances is challenging, but it’s even more difficult during a pandemic. I hope these tips are helpful to you, and that it makes your reading instruction a little bit easier!
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Choose Highly Engaging Read-Alouds
Choosing high quality read alouds and texts is always so important, and one of my favorite parts of teaching. There are so many absolutely incredible picture books written each year, and I am constantly amazed at the creativity of authors! If you are teaching virtually, I really encourage you to choose the “best of the best.” Students will already be less engaged over Zoom, so choosing super animated, funny and eye catching books is especially important.
I like to think of it as being a stage performer. If I’m just meeting with my students at the “carpet” I can have my normal everyday makeup on. I can choose my favorite books and some classics, because I can keep them engaged with proximity. When I’m teaching virtually, I need to put my “stage makeup” on. That’s when I’m going to be use the silliest books, with funny voices, the most colorful and beautiful illustrations, and even some of my students’ favorite characters.
Some of my favorites include:
Any Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems
I’m a Shark by Bob Shea
Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea
Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds
Give Students Choice
Anytime we can offer students choices, they will automatically be more engaged. For reading comprehension, you might choose to assign everyone the same activity. However, they can choose their own book to use.
Epic! is such a fabulous resource. Students could chose their own read aloud from a list or from the Epic library. They can still practice the skill (like retelling or inferring), but with a book of their choice.
Change Up the Format
Often, our reading comprehension assignments can look super similar. You can automatically increase engagement by using a different format or structure. Below are some activities included in my Digital Reading Response resource.
Allow Alternate Response Types
I love my Digital Reading Response resource, because it’s so easy to change up the answer format. Here are a few unique ways you might not have thought of!
Sock Puppets is a great app that allows students to make their puppets “talk” and share their thinking. Then they can simply add their video to the slide for you to see and to share with their classmates.
Chatterpix is super similar to Sock Puppets, but they get to pick their own picture instead of using the puppets. It’s a great app for retelling, but you can also just have them answer any comprehension question, share their favorite part, or even ask the author questions!
It’s super easy to add their alternate responses to the slides! All they need to do is download their responses from the app, and add them as videos!