READING ACTIVITY: “THE STORY IS CALLED…”

The purpose of this game is to find a new title for the story.

Participants

It usually works well with children from eleven years old. It is best when the group is not larger that 15 participants.

Objectives

  • To understand a story in depth.
  • To communicate and defend an own idea.
  • To think about what was read or heard.
  • To participate by voting.

Method

The participants can know or not the true title of the story. If they know it, it will be discuss whether the title is appropriate or not, and why. Other options will be considered.

The children will be given paper to write down a new title, once they have read or heard the story. As they give new possible titles, they will be written on the board. Finally children will vote for the two or three favorite ones, also based on the reasons they have presented.

Time

The session can be extended indefinitely at the moment of voting. The interventions can be controlled so everyone can be heard.

READING ACTIVITY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

There are children’s books authors that put a lot of emphasis on imagination in their story, and make up words. This activity is about discovering in a book the words created by the author and figuring out the intended meaning for each of them.

Participants

There is no age limit, but in this case the size of the group is important; it shouldn’t exceed 10 to 12 children.

Objectives

  • To figure out the meaning of words in their context.
  • To develop curiosity and attention.
  • To discover imagination in the written language.

Method

It is necessary to have a board or flip chart where one can write the new words that appear. The narrator or storyteller tell the children that throughout the story there will be new or created concepts.

At the end of the story the children say the new words they can remember. The words are written in the board, leaving some space to write on the side and explain them. The activity can be complemented choosing more usual words that could be used to replace the new ones.

When children say common words, these should also be written and discussed, looking for possible synonyms. To end the activity one can talk a bit about which words are more meaningful or beautiful, etc.

Time

This will be determined by the mental alertness of the children and the number of words found. One hour could be a good average.

READING ACTIVITY: ARE THEY THERE OR NOT?

The purpose of this strategy is to find the main and secondary characters of the story.

Participants

Children from 8 to 10 years. Twenty to twenty five participants as the limit.

Objectives

  • To understand a story that was read or told.
  • To encourage the selective selection of information within a story.
  • To exercise the memory.

Method

There can be two ways of carrying out the activity:

1st. Giving every child a list with the name of the characters he needs to find.

2nd. Writing the list of characters in the board or in a flip chart.

The game is about introducing the children to a list of characters that are in the story and others that are created just to distract them. Children should be given some time to read the list of characters. The story is read. After reading it, one asks them which characters from their list are in the story and which are not. One can also asks them to describe the passage or moment in which the character appears on the story.

The only condition for the activity is to choose a story with a minimum of 6 to 8 characters.

Time

It is possible that the activity last about 50 minutes; this will depend on the number of interventions by the children and the amount of characters of the story.

READING ACTIVITY: FINDING THE MISTAKE

This is an activity to use with small children. It is about identifying, when hearing the story for a second time, the mistakes that the reader or storyteller makes; it can also be called “you are wrong” because of the phrase children will use when they have discovered the mistake.
Participants

Small children that cannot read yet.

Objectives (for the child)

  • To get used to hearing
  • To pay attention to out loud reading
  • Understand what they hear

Method

Once the children are gathered together, the person reads or tells the story, slowly. After some time he tells the children he will read the story again, and that if he makes a mistake, they need to say “You are wrong!”. Read or tell the story a second time, changing names and situations.

Time

Is it recommended not to make it longer than half an hour. It is important to find a short story.

READING ACTIVITY: WHO ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

It is about discovering the character from a very short description.

Participants

They can be young or older children, depending on the story. Regarding the number of children, it shouldn’t be larger than twenty.

Objectives

  • To understand the story and identify its elements.
  • To exercise the attention.

Method

we need some cards to write down a short description of every character of a story, without naming it; we can write down the feelings, attitudes and psychological characteristics, making as many cards as children (there can be various descriptions, about different aspects of the same character).

Once the story is read or told, the cards will be distributed (facing down), and everyone can read them silently. The session starts. Every child will read his card and will answer the question “who are we talking about?”. The session can end with a discussion about which character is more attractive or the more generous, or envious, etc., and the reasons.

STRATEGIES TO ENCOURAGE READING

The purpose of stimulating and promoting the reading in children, not only requires a general reflection about reading and its teaching methods, but also about the design, planning and realization of a series of systematic activities to which teachers, students and parents should be really committed. The combination of these activities is known as strategy.
This concept can be defined from its main elements. A strategy should have its objectives clearly determined. In the case of a strategy to encourage reading, the main goal is to promote in children the love for reading and writing, in the classroom as well as in other situations. Besides this general objective, every strategy should define specific objectives, set in order to take care of the various purposes of reading. For example, one of these objectives could be to develop the ability to search for information.
To reach the objectives it is necessary to organize activities that, combined with different tools and materials, can be developed systematically, in a specific time, and that can be evaluated in order to improve them during the process.
These activities should be meaningful experiences for the children, and should be included within the school and daily life context.