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30 Brilliant Reading Activities That Make Learning Irresistible

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Reading in the classroom can be so much fun. We all work hard to plan robust literacy instruction, but who said we couldn’t have a little fun with it? Check out these engaging and enriching reading activities, ranging from preschool to upper elementary and beyond. We guarantee both you and your students will appreciate these outside-the-box ideas and games to help readers practice and strengthen their literacy skills.

Reading Activities for Preschoolers

1. Sing songs and nursery rhymes

Showing animals featured in different popular nursery rhymes, like a cow jumping over the moon as reading activities
Bilingual Kidspot/30 Popular English nursery rhymes for kids via bilingualkidspot.com

Rhyming is part of phonological awareness, which is one of the essential building blocks of early literacy. Nursery rhymes are entertaining to sing and learn, while they encourage students to listen closely to the sounds in words. English-language learners will also benefit from the extra vocabulary practice and repetition.

Learn more: 30 Popular English Nursery Rhymes for Kids in English at Bilingual Kidspot

2. Read Aloud

Book cover of See You Later, Alligator by Sally Hopgood
Amazon

This tried and true activity never gets old, and it’s one of the most valuable activities we can do with kids. With so many wonderful picks for the preschool audience, you’ll make your students laugh and help them learn valuable lessons about the world and their lives.

3. Goldfish crackers alphabet tracing

Goldfish crackers outline big letters A and B an example of reading activities
Totschooling/Goldfish crackers alphabet tracing via totschooling.net

Effective and delicious! These printables will get preschoolers excited about learning how to form their letters while they get ready for snack time too.

Learn more: Goldfish crackers alphabet tracing at Totschooling

4. Dot the syllables

Dot marker creating marks to indicate how many syllables there are in words with their corresponding picture
This Reading Mama/Syllable worksheets – dot the syllables via thisreadingmama.com

Understanding that words are made up of syllables is an important concept for early readers to grasp. Preschoolers can have some fun practicing identifying and marking how many syllables there are in familiar words.

Learn more: Syllable worksheets – dot the syllables at This Reading Mama

5. Alphabet play dough

Plastic letter shapes and a bin of different color playdough, with letters ABC in pink playdough as an example
No Time for Flash Cards/Alphabet playdough via notimeforflashcards.com

Play dough is an ever-popular activity for the younger set. Encourage letter recognition with this hands-on activity that will keep them endlessly entertained while they learn, a win-win!

Learn more: Alphabet playdough – alphabet for starters at No Time for Flash Cards

6. Name recognition soup

The name
Play Teach Repeat/Name Recognition Soup via playteachrepeat.com

Building names is one of our favorite early reading activities, and the possibilities are endless! This alphabet soup version will be a hit with your littlest learners who need a little extra practice.

Learn more: Name Recognition Soup at Play Teach Repeat

Reading Activities for Kindergartners

7. Alphabet SWAT! Letter Game

Flower-shaped flyswatter next to capital letters on sticky notes
The Kindergarten Connection/Alphabet SWAT! Tabletop version via thekindergartenconnection.com

Letter recognition is a very important skill for setting up early readers for success. Students will adore swatting letters to practice automaticity and identifying letter names at lightning speed.

Learn more: Alphabet SWAT! Tabletop Version at The Kindergarten Connection

8. Sight word fluency practice

worksheet to practice the sight word
Natalie Lynn Kindergarten/Sight word fluency practice via natalielynnkindergarten.com

With the right touch, sight words can be super fun. These printables make teaching them a breeze.

Learn more: Sight Word Fluency Practice at Natalie Lynn Kindergarten

9. Fish and build CVC words game

magnets with letters attached spelling the word
Planning Playtime/Fish and build CVC word game via planningplaytime.com

We love this creative way to practice CVC words. Mastering CVC word blending is an important kindergarten literacy skill and students will want to do this one again and again.

Learn more: Fish and Build CVC Word Game at Planning Playtime

10. Beginning sounds mail sort and song

pictures of items like the moon, a bat, and a mouse on the covers of pretend letters ready to be sent, as an example of reading activities
Growing Book by Book/Beginning sounds mail sort and song via growingbookbybook.com

Who doesn’t love sending and receiving mail? This beginning sound activity is perfect for practicing hearing initial sounds while pretending to be a mail delivery person. The rhyming song is a fun little bonus!

Learn more: Beginning Sounds Mail Sort and Song at Growing Book by Book

11. Picture sorts

Pictures with beginning blends
Sweet for Kindergarten/5 simple vocabulary activities for kindergarten via sweetforkindergarten.com

This picture-sorting activity for hearing sounds can foster vocabulary development too, making it double the fun! With a little guidance, students can practice new and familiar words while working on distinguishing sounds in words, like beginning blends.

Learn more: 5 Simple Vocabulary Activities for Kindergarten at Sweet for Kindergarten

12. Snowflake phoneme segmentation

finger moving a snowflake from sky into one of the a blank sound spaces, as an example of reading activities
Fantastic Fun and Learning/Snowflake segmentation printable mat via fantasticfunandlearning.com

No matter the season, this hands-on activity that practices segmenting phonemes is sure to be a hit. Students drop a snowflake for every sound they hear in different words.

Learn more: Snowflake Segmentation Printable Mat at Fantastic Fun and Learning

Reading Activities for First Graders

13. Find the fish

This may be our favorite game for its versatility and ease of prep. Check out these suggestions from Susan Jones (the second half of the video focuses on literacy) for how to reinforce important literacy skills. Students search for a hidden fish behind words, letters, or picture cards. Great for practicing sight words, letter identification or sounds, decoding skills, and phoneme isolation.

Learn more: 10 Skills To Play With the Game Find the Fish at Susan Jones Teaching

14. Picture the Character

This comprehension activity is both fun and informative for first graders. Encouraging readers to use simple pictures and words to think about a character from a beloved book is a great way to boost comprehension skills. It’s always a good idea to get them started early thinking critically about books!

Learn more: Comprehension Activities for Your First Grader at Reading Rockets. Find the Picture the Character organizer on the list of student center activities at the Florida Center for Reading Research.

15. Magic E wand

wand with a
Playdough to Plato/Magic E wand via playdoughtoplato.com

Learning the magic E is a very important first-grade reading skill and takes some practice. We love this fun activity to reinforce the idea that the “e” at the end of a one-syllable word changes the vowel to its long sound. Students will love to use “magic” to change these sounds back and forth.

Learn more: Magic E Wand at Playdough to Plato

16. Watch a phonics music video

These videos from a talented husband-and-wife duo will make tricky phonics and spelling rules especially memorable. Students will request these super-catchy and fun tunes over and over again, and you might just find yourself singing along too.

Learn more: Mrs. Siravo’s YouTube Channel at YouTube

17. Echo reading

As students become more proficient in decoding, it’s also important to focus on their fluency skills. Echo reading, or repeating what someone else has read, is an effective strategy to increase fluency. Check out this video from Reading Rockets to see echo reading, as well as partner reading and repeated reading, in action. All great ways to boost fluency.

Learn more: Fluency: Activities for Your First Grader at Reading Rockets

18. Decodable texts

Three different passages with decodable text and a box of crayons
Literacy With Aylin Claahsen/Kindergarten and 1st grade reading activities via aylinclaahsen.com

Decodable texts help students put the pieces together and apply what they are learning. There are so many great resources out there these days, making it a highly effective activity you can differentiate for any student.

Learn more: Kindergarten and 1st-grade Reading Activities at Literacy With Aylin Claahsen

Reading Activities for Second Graders

19. Reader’s Theater

If you’re looking for a fluency-boosting activity students will love, reader’s theater is a fabulous choice. With many repeated readings and plenty of opportunities for working on expression, reading a script is a high-value activity that will engage just about any reader. It can also be adapted based on the reading level and specific needs of your students.

Learn more: Reader’s Theater at Reading Rockets

20. Learn the six syllable types

Four categories of syllables - open, closed, magic e, and vowel team, with words underneath them on a blue poster, as an example of reading activities
Mrs. Winter’s Bliss/How and why to teach the six syllable types via mrswintersbliss.com

Understanding the six different types of syllables is an important part of explicit phonics instruction and helps readers decode unknown words. By the end of second grade, students should be familiar with all six. These types of syllable sorts are fun, effective ways to review and informally assess whether students are grasping the concept.

Learn more: How and Why To Teach the Six Syllable Types at Mrs. Winter’s Bliss

21. Book Clubs

A graphic organizer for pages to be read, a book club guide, crayons and sticky notes
Two Little Birds Teaching/Getting started with book clubs via twolittlebirdsteaching.com

While the idea of a book club might sound daunting, they can be so valuable for newly independent readers. We love this how-to guide for making the most of book clubs for your students. Plus, check out our favorite chapter books for second graders for some extra inspiration!

Learn more: Getting Started With Book Clubs at Two Little Birds Teaching

22. Word hunt

Word hunt worksheet with blank spaces to write words, a pencil, and a book lying open
Learning at the Primary Pod/How to choose word work activities that are actually effective via learningattheprimarypod.com

Finding specific word patterns in books and passages is one of our favorite go-to activities. Connecting word work to real text is an effective way to reinforce new phonics concepts and make them more meaningful for students.

Learn more: How To Choose Word Work Activities That Are Actually Effective at Learning at the Primary Pod

23. Fact or opinion football

Two worksheets with footballs going through a goal posts and word cards with an example of a fact
Florida Center for Reading Research/Fact or opinion football via fcrr.org

Read statements and decide if they are facts or opinions. Get it right and score a field goal!

Learn more: Fact or Opinion Football at Florida Center for Reading Research

24. Popper syllable division

blue bubble popper with a whiteboard and black dry-erase marker, word cards, and the word
Mrs. Winter’s Bliss/How and why to teach the six syllable types via mrswintersbliss.com

Kids just can’t get enough of these poppers and they add so much value in the classroom. Practice syllable division, another important decoding and spelling skill, by pushing down one popper for each syllable you hear in the word. Then, write the word syllable by syllable.

Learn more: How and Why To Teach the Six Syllable Types at Mrs. Winter’s Bliss

Reading Activities for Third Graders and Up

25. Book trailer

Book trailers are one of our all-time favorite reading activities for older students. With instant buy-in and engagement, this fun assignment can also serve as a valuable tool for assessing comprehension.

Learn more: Book Trailer at Literacy Is Everything

26. Spin a suffix

spinner with different suffixes and a recording sheet
Teaching With Jennifer Findley/Morphology activities for grades 4-5 via jenniferfindley.com

Understanding morphology, or the study of the structure of words, becomes increasingly important as students read more advanced text. Use the suffix spinner to create new words by adding a suffix to the end of a word.

Learn more: Morphology Activities for Grades 4-5 at Teaching With Jennifer Findley

27. Newsela

dashboard example from newsela website
Newsela/Remote learning resources via newsela.com

Discover engaging nonfiction news articles with varying degrees of difficulty at Newsela. You can sign up for a free account for access to so much content and resources for assessing and getting the most out of the news stories.

Learn more: Newsela

28. Creative reading task cards

comprehension question task cards relating to character
The Secondary English Coffee Shop/4 creative reading activities to spark engagement via secondaryenglishcoffeeshop.blogspot.com

Boost comprehension and spark creativity by asking engaging and original questions about stories.

Learn more: Creative Reading Task Cards at The Secondary English Coffee Shop

29. Read aloud

Book cover of When I see Blue by Lily Bailey
Amazon

Reading aloud, even to middle and high schoolers, is so important that we just had to include it on our list twice. Talking about books is essential at any age, and we guarantee that with the right books, your students will love listening to stories. Reading aloud can even help reduce anxiety.

Learn more: 8 of the Best Middle Grade Books to Read Aloud at Book Riot

30. Explore genres

Many different genres and their definitions written on different color paper under the heading of "What We're Reading"
Raise the Bar Reading/Teaching reading genres via raisethebarreading.com

Use a chalkboard to keep track of who in your classroom is reading what genre. Once students become more proficient and are reading more advanced material, the possibilities for exploring different types of genres increase tenfold.

Learn more: Teaching Reading Genres at Raise the Bar Reading

More Reading Activities

Fantastic Reading Fluency Activities for Young Readers

Fun Phonics Activities and Games for Early Readers

Unique Reading Comprehension Activities Your Students Will Love

Kinestic Reading Activities to Get Kids Up and Moving

What are some of your favorite reading activities? Come and share your ideas in our We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.



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