Eight Rock Solid Activities that Boost Comprehension

How often have you found yourself in class, feeling that both you and your students are getting a serious case of déjà vu from the repetition of the same old comprehension activities? Rather than always sticking to your one or two go-to exercises, in teaching it’s always the goal to keep your activities fresh and, in turn, keep your students engaged and interested. This is especially important for your long term classes which run over the course of a several months to a few years. To help you avoid planning stale classes, try switching up your activities and popping in a few of these ideas. This will keep your students on their toes and prevent them from tuning out!

Activities that Boost Comprehension

1. Fill in the blanks (Listening)

This tried and true classic activity is great at getting your students to pay close attention to key vocabulary. Play the recording and have your students fill in the missing words as they hear them. Plan the blanks to go where the target language is so that they focus in on it more.

2. Order the events (Reading/Listening)

This activity will encourage your students to hone in on the content of the story. Prepare a worksheet with the events from the story in a mixed up order. Then have your students reorder the sentences as they heard/read them.

3. Label the paragraph (Reading/Listening)

Have students work together to come up with titles that best represent the gist of what they’ve just read/listened to. This will encourage them to summarize an entire text with just one or 2 words.

4. True & False (Reading/Listening)

Prepare 6-8 statements related to the story that are either true or false. Students must read closely to prove which ones are correct. Take this activity a step further by having students correct the false statements making them true.

5. Comprehension Questions (Reading/Listening)

This activity is an oldie but goodie. Using question words such as who, what, where, why, when, and how; encourage your students to give full answers about what they’ve just read/listened to.

6. Alternate Ending/What Will Happen Next (Reading/Listening)

Spark your students’ creativity by getting them to come up with their own version of what will/should have happened next. This is a great activity for lessons focusing on tenses.

7. Summarize (Reading/Listening)

Have your students tell their partner what they just read. This is a great way to practice reported speech as well!

8. Write 5 questions to the Character/Author (Reading/Listening)

I love this activity for the pure fact that it encourages your students to think deeper than about what’s just on the page. What would they like to ask the character or author about the story if given the chance?

Activities that Boost Comprehension

Still need more ideas for planning your lessons? TtMadrid offers ongoing professional development training that includes many workshops on lesson planning and activity ideas. For more information, visit our OPD webpage.

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