Here is a fun activity you could do at home to help improve reading comprehension and ensure that your children are understanding the meaning of the text.
As I've mentioned before, we are taking part in the MeMeTales Readathon 2012. This week the theme for the Read-a-thon is Animals. The specific animal books are available free on the website this week so once you've joined up you'll be able to read them online.
We read the Donkey and the Wolf and based this fun activity around that book. You can use any story you want though!
Hello funny donkey
What to do:
Pick a story you've read before or just read.
Explain to your child that you are going to re-enact the story. Have the book (or electronic device with book) on the table where you are going to play.
Set the scene.
This is a really fun bit. You can make the set up as simple or as elaborate as you want. We kept it pretty simple. Some felt for the "meadow" and our characters made out of play dough. We found that adding little googly eyes really brought our characters to life.
Re-read the story & act it out.
Read the story with your child. After you have read each page use your play dough characters to re enact what has just happened on the page. Use this time to also talk about any words or concepts that your child may not understand.
What a scary looking wolf (haha)
Our characters ready for the story to begin
Watch out Donkey, here comes Wolf!
Donkey has spotted Wolf!
What is happening here? You'll have to read the story to find out ;)
- Simplify this activity by setting the scene and making the characters yourself. Then, with your child, help them re-tell the story using the props.
- Extend this activity by having your child make all the props themselves.
- Mix it up. Once you've re-told the story as it's written, have your child come up with a new story using the same characters or have them change the ending. You can help them do this by asking some leading questions, ie "What do you think would have happened if......?" "Can you show me with your characters what might have happened?" etc.
- Encourage creativity by letting your child know that they can base the characters, etc. on their own interpretation. They don't have to look exactly as they do in the story. You can mix around the scene as well. For example, the book may not picture trees in the meadow, but if your child wants trees, go with it!
- Interest. So, how do you get your child interested to do this if they don't appear to be leaping up at your suggestions? Easy, start playing yourself. Show your children the fun they are missing and I'd be very surprised if at the very least they don't come over and watch you re-telling the story. Also.. this isn't rocket science but make sure there aren't other distractions like TV going in the background.
- Talking and Reading together will help your child develop their language skills, not to mention the incredible bond you create with them.
- Read more about Reading Comprehension for kids here and why it's as important a subject as learning how to read (decode text).
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