Explicitly teaching, as well as continually modeling and practicing reading comprehension strategies with students is one of the most important jobs we have as teachers of growing readers. Research shows that teaching reading strategies encourages students to read and interact with text in a purposeful, meaningful way. The ultimate goal is for students to use these strategies independently, so how can we get students to practice using them in order to successfully comprehend texts on their own?
Finding fresh, meaningful reader response activities to continually meet the needs of the many diverse learners in a classroom can be SO difficult. We use sticky notes, graphic organizers, short answer questions, collaborative anchor charts – the list goes on and on! And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE using these activities for reading strategy instruction. However, these go-tos sometimes just aren’t enough to continually engage all students. This is where reading comprehension crafts come in! They are no prep, engaging, hands on, interactive, and only require scissors and glue (aside from fan crafts that need metal fasteners). The design of the crafts visually breaks down each reading skill and strategy for students. This allows them to see and internalize how to use the strategy. At least three crafts are included for each strategy, ranging from very simple to a little bit more involved (on the student’s end).
SKILLS AND STRATEGIES INCLUDED:
Close reading gets students to dive deep into texts while building their fluency. These thinking caps crafts and magnifying glass flap books come blank inside for flexibility, or with nonfiction and fiction graphic organizers to help guide students in their thinking for each read.
Making predictions before, during, and after reading encourages students to interact with a text. These fun crafts have students pay close attention to specific text evidence in order to make their own decisions on what they think will happen next.
Asking questions allows readers to set a purpose before reading a text, have an internal conversation with the author while reading, and be reflective after reading. These crafts have students ask the 5 W’s (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) as well as ask questions before, during, and after reading. There is also a lift the flap craft included that guides students in using the QAR asking questions strategy.
Making authentic connections to a text encourages students to become emotionally invested in what they are reading. As they read more and more, and learn about the world around them, students move beyond just personal, text to text, connections to text to text and text to world connections. These crafts can be used to focus on just one connection type at a time or all three connections types at once. They include a making connections fan, a text connections chain craft, and a simple lift the flap organizer.
Beyond direct vocabulary instruction, it is so important that we give students tools to figure out the meaning of new vocabulary words on their own. These crafts encourage students to use roots and affixes as well as use different types of context clues (definition, antonym, synonym, word parts, example, or picture).
Teaching students to make inferences is a thinking strategy that has students use what they already know (background knowledge) together with text evidence in order to understand the text. The thinking cap, puzzle, and lift the flap crafts allow students to visually see how they can use background knowledge and text evidence together in order to make inferences.
Drawing conclusions has students take their inferences a step further. Three crafts included allow students to record text clues, and inferences that lead them to their conclusion(s).
Synthesizing information can be such a difficult reading strategy to teach students, but it’s also so important! These crafts help students to visually see how their thinking can change and grow as they read to come up with an overall understanding. They include a growing synthesizing flower, a nesting dolls craft, and a lift the flap synthesizing brain organizer.
In these crafts, students are asked to write down evidence from the text that supports their visualizations. When put together, the movie reel, glasses, and thought bubble crafts really help students to see and experience the concept of visualizing.
CREATING SENSORY IMAGES:
Having students tune into how authors describe the five senses encourages more powerful visualizations. These crafts have students record vivid sensory details from the text and illustrate their visualizations.
USING BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE:
The more knowledge students have on a topic, the easier it will be for them to understand, and make connections to, new texts. These crafts have students record their background knowledge on a topic, along with questions they have and then what they learned on a topic.
Monitoring comprehension teaches readers that it is OK to be confused. It is all about what they do to fix this confusion that matters. Growing readers need to learn to be consciously aware of any problems they come across and use fix-up strategies in order to get back on track in their reading. These crafts have students to stop when they are confused, choose an appropriate fix-up strategy (re-read, ask questions, read aloud, etc.) and then explain how it helped them.
By setting a clear purpose for reading, students are able to determine what information in a text is important or unimportant to their topic. These crafts have students record details as they are reading, and then separate out what information is important and what is just interesting.
Each of the above strategies are available individually in my TpT shop! The complete bundle of reading comprehension packs can be found here: