Fun Ways to Get Students Reading

Do you want a fresh start? Here, the students are reading a difficult passage. But every reader is engaged and supported. Create your own rubric with reading, oral expression and drama expectations when doing the Happy Readers Activity below.

Happy Readers Activity 1-9 & Drama Activity 9-20 

Hand out the passage (this works well if you want them to memorize or know the passage well e.g. for an assembly, a play or facts. I like using a passage from the Frog and Toad series as there are two characters and this is a partner activity.)

  1. Start by having each student reading the passage silently. (For readers who find  this step challenging, ask them to look for the words they know and get as much meaning from the text as possible.)

  2. After a few minutes, read the passage to the students as they follow along.

  3. Partner them off and have them take turns reading short sections to each other. Once they have read the passage one time, ask them to start again at the top.

  4. Have partners walk around the room taking turns reading.

  5. Have them emphasize the meaning with intonation and punctuation in their voices.

  6. Have partner A walk in front of B and take turns reading the passage (work on projection.) Then B in front of A.

  7. Have partners switch reading parts frequently.

  8. Partners stand apart from each other (could have a line of A’s standing opposite a line of B’s. They will project and be physically animated to be heard, which is great for expressing meaning.)

  9. Have partners decide on their particular parts. E.g. who is Frog and who is Toad.

  10. Have them read their lines only looking into their partner’s eyes (and maintain the meaning.)

  11. Have everyone do up their shoes and undo their shoes while saying their lines. (this gets them away from the passage/script and makes the tone and flow more natural.)

  12. Have everyone do jumping jacks or another vigorous action while saying their lines. (notice what happens to their tone, expression, eye contact.)

  13. Each pair creates actions that bring out the meaning of the text, while saying their lines.

  14. Arrange furniture in the classroom to create a set (other props may be used or must be mimed.)

  15. Partners make final decisions to bring the passage to life.

  16. Encourage students to put their scripts away and rehearse their parts once more.

  17. Share with the class.

  18. Have the class give feedback according to the rubric. I like to use Stars and Wishes e.g. What did you like about the piece (referring to specific rubric items) and what would you wish could be different.

  19. Rework the piece and present again.