Before Reading / Pre Reading Questions and Activities
There are several no prep strategies you can use before reading a text to get your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students interested and prepare them to comprehend the text better.
Start by sharing the title and book cover with your students. Based on this alone, students can make predictions about the genre of the text, and what topics or problems might come up in the text.
You can also intentionally activate your students’ schema by asking them to think about, write, or discuss what they already know about the topic - or to share what the title and book cover reminds them of.
Sometimes it can be useful going through a book walk with your students. Walk through the pages together, looking at illustrations and any text that stands out. Checking out different text features in nonfiction text like the table of contents, headings, graphs, etc. can be especially helpful.
And questions are of course always helpful for getting students to think!
Possible Before Reading Questions
- Do you think this is a fiction or nonfiction text? Why?
- Based on the title or book cover, what problems do you think the main characters might face? What are some possible solutions?
- What clues has the author provided for you in the title and illustrations?
- What are you wondering about?
During Reading Questions and Activities
While you are reading, one of the most valuable strategies you can use are think alouds. Model to your students what you are thinking about as you read - what questions do you have, what predictions can you make, how are you monitoring your comprehension?
As you read, stop periodically to see if students have any questions and to make sure they are comprehending the text. You could have them whip out their white boards and draw an important event from the passage so far. Or, see if they can sum up the most important part of the text so far in just one or two words.
And of course, asking questions is a great way to keep upper elementary students engaged and to make sure they are comprehending the text. You can use this method for pairing students up to give them an opportunity to stretch their legs while also answering questions.
Possible During Reading Questions
- Is there anything that you don’t understand that we should go back and reread?
- What illustration do you think will be on the next page? Why?
- What details have been important to the story so far?
- How do you think this text will end? Why?
After Reading Questions and Activities
After reading a text, there are endless ways to assess student understanding. For example, have your 3rd, 4th or 5th grade students:
- fill out graphic organizers
- have a snowball fight
- ask their own meaningful questions
- complete a One Pager Activities like the ones found in this Reading Response Bundle
- summarize or find the main idea
- analyze character traits
- complete one of these whole class Find Someone Who activities
- complete one of these book report ideas
And of course, asking questions about the text is always appropriate! You can find some skill specific higher order thinking questions here, or use some of the possible "After Reading" questions below!
Possible After Reading Questions
- What do you think the author wanted you to learn from this text?
- If the author wrote a sequel to this text, what do you think the sequel would be about?
- Summarize this text in 2-4 sentences.
- Is there anything from the text that didn’t make sense to you?
- What would you have done differently from the main character?
- Think about an unusual detail in the text. Why do you think the author included it?
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