Why Use Literature Based Reading Activities in Your Classroom?
By Kaldia Nigh
Have you ever been in a classroom where the teacher is reading a story aloud and you observe the students not being engaged? I know I have. This is a terrible occurrence in our classrooms today. With the shift of the Common Core State Standards, students are expected to have more exposure to nonfiction text (Yopp & Yopp, 2014). It is important to note that the amount of nonfiction text that was provided to our young students before the Common Core was minimal. The Yopp and Yopp sisters created a textbook that compiled an extremely large list of literature-based reading activities that educators could implement in their classrooms in order to boost student learning and interest. The textbook is titled Literature-Based Reading Activities: Engaging Students with Literary and Informational Text.
According to Yopp and Yopp (2014), students who participate in Literature-Based reading activities develop creativity, problem-solving skills, communication skills, critical thinking skills, and increased content knowledge. Most importantly students will increase their love for reading. Yopp and Yopp also indicates that the activities which they provide can help students find a purpose for reading, build vocabulary knowledge, and reflect on meaning of the literature.
One of the things that I love about literature-based reading activities is the fact that they are wonderful ways to help engage English Language Learners and students with special needs. They provide students with fun and engaging opportunities to connect with the text that they are reading. These activities are divided up into three sections: prereading activities, during-reading activities, and postreading activities. Prereading activities are to be done before reading the particular text in order to help boost student interest. During-reading activities are to be implemented while the children are reading the text in order to boost engagement and the ability to connect with the text. Postreading activities help students reflect on the text, stimulate student thinking, and make further connections.
Since Language Arts is an extremely important subject I truly recommend that educators find new ways to help the students engage with the texts that they are expected to read. The best thing to do is to utilize different literature-based reading activities in your classroom.
I have utilized these activities firsthand in the classroom. I know that you will see an increase in:
– Student learning
– Student engagement
– Student communication
– Students’ love of reading
A goal of an educator is to teach students content material in a fun and engaging way. Well the activities that Yopp and Yopp describe will definitely assist with this particular goal.
I will provide an example for a pre-reading activity, during-reading activity, and post-reading activity below that I have utilized and loved.
In the Literature-Based Reading Activities: Engaging Students with Literary and Informational Text by Yopp and Yopp:
Pg. 50: “Picture Carousels” (Prereading activity)
Teachers should place pictures around the room that are related to the particular literature that they will read. Then they should compile a group of questions for the students to go through that are associated with each image. For the activity, students will walk around the room individually or with a partner. Conversations will occur at the images as they discuss the answers to the questions. Students are asked to take notes on their sheet.
This activity peaks interest in the images, as well as how the images are related to the literature that they will be reading. Not to mention this activity is very easily differentiated depending on the students in your classroom. For example, you can have the students draw images instead of take notes.
Pg. 85: “Partner Journals” (During-reading activity)
Students will write to a partner back and forth to form conversations about the literature that they are currently reading. They will discuss the different points of view and how they are reacting to the literature. Not only does this allow students to process what they are reading, it also allows them to practice their writing skills.
Pg. 100: “Sketch to Stretch” (Postreading activity)
Students are asked to draw or create images that represent something from the text. Students can sketch what they feel a certain part of the text means using different colors, shapes, pictures, etc. Students can then conduct a discussion so that they can be exposed to different viewpoints from their peers.
Remember to keep your students engaged and find new ways for your students to connect with literature!
Yopp, H. K., & Yopp, R. H. (2014). Literature-Based Reading Activities: Engaging Students with Literary and Informational Text. New Jersey: Pearson.