Today I’m sharing some of my favorite reading activities and lessons with you. We use the Journey’s program at my school, but I also supplement using some of the lessons below. These are all lessons I’ve used in my second grade class, but could be used in third too!
Strega Nona Character Bubble Maps – I love the story Strega Nona. It is just a great story and the characters are awesome because they are so different. I also like using Thinking Maps. My current school is not a Thinking Maps school, but I use the maps anyway since it helps the kids organize their thinking. After reading Strega Nona, the kids and I come up with a bubble map describing both Strega Nona and Big Anthony. Then, they use the bubble map to help them write sentences describing each character.
The Gingerbread Cowboy – Setting Brace Map – Here is another Thinking Maps example. The story The Gingerbread Cowboy is another great story especially to discuss setting. I read it to my class and then we came up with the setting on the left of the brace and then evidence from the story that supported that setting on the right side of the brace map.
What’s In Miss V’s Bag? (this picture is from before I was married) – This activity is from Abby at The Inspired Apple and focuses on making inferences. This is a great beginning activity before diving into making inferences in text. I empty out a few items in my purse (select items of course) and the kids have to infer why I have those items in my person. This helps them start to understand the concept of inferring and being able to use evidence and background knowledge to draw conclusions.
Making Inferences – Whose shoe? – I don’t remember where I found this activity, but it’s another great inferring starter. You bring in a shoe and the students have to make inferences about who they think the shoe belongs to. While making inferences, the students have to back up their thoughts with why they think the shoe belongs to that person.
Inference Pictures – I found this one on Pinterest and it’s another great start to teaching inferences. If you can’t tell, I enjoy teaching about making inferences. There are a variety of pictures out there if you search on Pinterest for inference pictures. Students then have to use the text/evidence + their schema to infer what is happening in the picture.
Prefixes and Suffixes – This isn’t a super involved activity, but a great way to learn about prefixes using a Thinking Map – a tree map. To help students come up with words that have different prefixes and understand what they mean, we created this tree map as a class. We discussed what each prefix meant and as students gave examples, we talked about how the prefix changes the meaning of the word. This could also be done with suffixes.
Vocabulary Flip Books – We have about 8-10 reading vocabulary words each week with our Journey’s program. One activity I like to do to practice is a Vocabulary Flip book. Each book has four flaps. Students choose four of their vocabulary words and write them on the front and draw a picture that matches the word. Then, on the inside they write the definition and use the vocab word in a sentence.
Whole Class Book Studies – At my school, in addition to our weekly Journey’s stories, we read three chapter books as a class throughout the year. In the fall, we read Charlotte’s Web. In the winter, we read The Chocolate Touch. In the spring, we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. These books are a nice break from the weekly story and the kids love them. They are entertaining and engaging. We focus on vocabulary and comprehension with these stories.
Thanks for stopping by! Next week I’ll share some of my favorite social studies/project based learning lessons and activities!