Lighten your teaching load
Reading comprehension activities help
reading comprehension and reduce your workload using literacy
activities aimed at helping students read short pieces of nonfiction
writing from their English language arts text materials.
Using the instructional matter in ELA texts as the basis for
teaching reading skills lets you accomplish several goals simultaneously.
Let me give you an oversimplified example of how the process
Multi-functional grammar lesson
Lets say you are going to teach a grammar lesson on the
distinction between active and passive voice verbs. Here is a
list of activities you can do within the framework of teaching
grammar that will improve students' reading comprehensionand
several other skills as well.
1. Begin by having students read silently the
discussion in their text about active and passive verbs.
The entire passage will probably be no more than a couple paragraphs.
Ask students to identify a word or phrase that they think is
the topic (subject) of the entire passage. To tie the grammar
reading to research skills, use the term keyword
to refer to the most important word (or phrase) in the section.
(The keyword may be the topic.)
2. Have students identify the main idea in one paragraph of
their grammar text material.
Remind students that the topic
sentence of a body paragraph is often the first sentence.
To see if the topic sentence is the first sentence in their paragraph,
paragraph, have students begin by looking for keywords.
Then have students find a sentence that asserts something
about the keyword of the paragraph.
3. Remind students that the topic
sentence and thesis sentence are alike in that
both contain a topic and an assertion about it.
4. You can repeat the process of finding topic sentences
for each paragraph in the passage.
5. You might also have students find synonyms or pronouns
that are used in place of the most important nouns and
verbs in the passage. The synonyms and pronouns are important
elements in reading comprehension.
6. Point out to students that the synonyms and pronouns
are also used to tie sentences together so a paragraph appears
fluent. Without them, writing sounds repetitious and choppy.
7. Have students test their understanding by identifying examples
of active and passive sentences in the passage they just read.
8. Round off the lesson with an informal writing activity
in which students:
Explain in 2-5 sentences the difference between active and
passive voice; or
Write one sentence in active voice and rewrite it in passive
Tell you what they still don't understand about the active/passive
In this lesson, you've taught reading comprehension, grammar, writing
skills, study skills, and some vocabulary for research.
Many students won't get the distinction between active and passive
after one session. You may need to reteach the concept using similar
procedures with material from different sources a few times.
After students understand the active-passive distinction, the
next step is to have them use that material in a formal writing
I just happen to have a writing
prompt about active and passive voice that you
can download free if you subscribe to Writing Points
ezine. And if you want more ideas for teaching using writing as a tool, you'll find them in the ezine, too. Get your subscription here:
two or more aspects of your course curriculum into short reading
comprehension activities, you cut down on the number of lesson
plans you must prepare. You can use the same lesson outline repeatedly
with only minor adjustments.