17 FUN Comprehension Strategies

Hi! This is Heather from Campfire Curriculum with Helpful Heather back for the third and final post in my series. In case you missed them, I began with sharing a view of my classroom on Sunday, a glimpse of me doing what I do, and today, I am sharing a bit of what I've learned so far.

17 FUN Comprehension Strategies 

If you are looking for fun and attention grabbing comprehension strategies this post is for you! You will be treated to 17 exciting comprehension strategies that can be implemented before, during, and after reading. Have fun!
From left to right:  Amanda Hunley, Heather Waild, Kristen Roth
This past March was very exciting!   Along with two co-teachers/friends, I presented at the 49th Annual Virginia State Reading Association Conference.  We worked hard to make sure that teachers went away with strategies that they could implement immediately and effectively.  We called ourselves "The Comprehension Queens" and thanks to Honey Side Up Creative, we were also made into cartoons!

At The Guided Reading Table

Here are some comprehension ideas that you can use at the guided reading table with your small groups.
This activity is called "FLAG IT when you READ IT".  The two above are differentiated for ability and grade level(s).  It's a great use for the flags that are used for page markers in college.  I have a laminated version of this page for my reading table.  Each student receives a set of flags with different colors.  When they are reading and they find one of the identifiers they grab a flag and stick it in the book.  When I see a student reaching for a flag I usually stop my readers and say, "Oh!  Did you find something?  Tell us!"  There have been wonderful 'light bulb' moments using this idea.  Students also are more aware of a purpose for reading when this is introduced. 
This fun game/activity is called "Roll a Response".  After being guided, you could put this activity into a listening center for an 'after-reading activity'.  There are four included here (two for fiction and two for non-fiction).  The teacher can choose which one to use depending on the text given.  If you are sensitive to noise, please use the foam dice that you can find at the dollar stores.  A student simply rolls the die and answers a question that correlates with the number rolled.  If you laminate these boards they can be used year after year!
 Some students struggle with learning how to wonder.  It seems as if it would be very natural but that is not always true.  When I saw this book about the Inupiaq people, I knew that it would be a great cover to introduce 'wondering' with.  You can see that one of my students wondered, "Is she in bed?"  After all of the students verbalized what they wondered, they wrote them in the bubble portion of the activity sheet.  As we were reading, students were encouraged to let us know if they found out the answer to what they just wondered.  This student wrote about the fur that the Inupiaq people wear when she found out that the girl was not in bed, she was wearing a fur coat.

As we sit at the guided reading table we know what kinds of questions to ask.  BUT wouldn't it be nice to have someone write them all down for you?  These guides are full of differentiated questions to ask students.  You can also use them as a "pick-a-card" activity during reading.

Your students will have so much fun with these spinners!  Make your own spinning mechanism with a paperclip and a pencil.  A paperclip is the spinner and the point of the pencil holds the paperclip in the center.  If a student is holding the spinner with his/her left hand they can spin with their right.  Our kindergarten friends may need the teacher's assistance but they will love to spin just the same!  On these (fiction and non-fiction) spinners, picture clues are given.

Centers To Go

Who doesn't love an already-created center? Have fun watching your students using comprehension strategies while reading.

Using these "Anticipation Guides" the teacher can give statements or the students can create their own.  They get to predict if the statement if going to be found true or false prior to reading.  After reading, they can go back and answer with information found in the text.  They can even add page numbers where the information was found!

You have to love an activity where the student is asked to wonder before, during, and after reading.  With this activity students can do all three!  The teacher can put page numbers on the activity or give them a choice on where to stop and wonder during reading.

These choice boards give students the opportunity to choose what they will do in centers.  Throughout a week, the students need to color in three boxes (like tic-tac-toe).  A sneaky (aka smart) teacher will place items that need to be done in a main box.

Laminate these book marks and tuck them into books.  You can even write the page number in the bubble with dry erase marker (in case they fall out of the book).  Students get to that spot in the book, stop, and wonder.  You can even offer students lined paper and they can write down their thoughts (if you choose).

Keep It Current

It doesn't matter what grade you teach, students enjoy activities that are current.  We need to take things that they think are cool and turn them into moments of learning.  Students will want to participate if they are excited about the work in front of them.

All that you need for this activity are these guides and sticky notes.  As students find what they are looking for in the book (character, funny party, a time when they inferred, etc.) they draw the icon or emoji that correlates and stick it in the book!

This activity allows students to wonder, tell how they feel, what they thought was funny, if they were confused, what they liked, and how they reflect on the story.  Using emoji-like characters, the students write about what they find/read.  This can also help you, as the teacher, find group reading that the students enjoy and it can stimulate conversation(s) in small group.

Using a hashtag can be an enrichment activity!  When students read text and can summarize with a hashtag they truly have comprehension skills.  This is fun and the students love it.  I'd love for you to share some of the hashtags that your students create!


This is one of my favorites and I'm so thrilled that students still use them and love them.  You may remember them as Fortune Tellers or Cootie Catchers.  Don't be intimidated.  They are easy to fold (if my husband can do it, you can do it!).  I put them out in centers and also send them home for comprehension homework.  Many times parents do not know what to ask after a student reads a book.  This will help guide them and promote family fun.  I decided to use sight words for the "outside sections" to give my students extra practice with difficult words but you can be creative and implement them in any way that you need.  *A hint for upper grades:  Have students create their own connected to the text that they are reading.  Comprehension Fold-A-Fun can be a great study tool too!

Make It And Take It

The summer is right around the corner!  It's the time that we have to actually meet up with friends and relax a little.  One thing my friends like to do (nerd alert) is to choose an item that we would like to have for our classroom and make it while we are gabbing.  We've always had a fun time while creating for our classes together.  I think you will too.  Here is your challenge:  Meet up with teacher friends once a month and craft something useful for your class.  Here are some ideas:

These 5 finger retells are just as cute as they look!  The students simply slide the bead(s) up when they find the story element.  Your students will love them and want to retell after using them!         

These differentiated "Roll and Know" cubes are fun and quiet!  Cover them with packing tape prior to cutting them (or use a light laminate) and they will last a long time.

Find colorful card stock and laminate them.  Once they are cut out, they make wonderful thought bubbles for comprehension work.  After reading about friendship these students responded that a "Friends have your back!" and "Best friends is BFF friendship".

Using the labels to the right (and they are ready made to be on printer labels) stick them on craft sticks and put them in a container (this one is a coffee container) and make a cute label.  Students will love to answer questions when they get to choose from the Quiz Me Can!

Can You Comprehend How Fun This Would Be?

I hope that you have found one thing that is new to you or that you would like to make.  You should collaborate with your friends the way that I did with mine (shout out to my girls Kristen and Amanda).  Great things happen when teachers get together!  You should make it happen.  Please let me know what you enjoyed or if you have a different spin on things.  We can all learn from each other!  

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If you are looking for fun and attention grabbing comprehension strategies this post is for you!  You will be treated to 17 exciting comprehension strategies that can be implemented before, during, and after reading.

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