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3rd Grade Reading Comprehension Games

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Third graders are at an exciting place as readers and are often ready to focus with new intensity on comprehension. This lesson gives you some good ideas for games that will deepen your students' understanding of the texts they are working with.

Reading Comprehension and Games

Third grade can be such an exciting time for teachers of reading. By this age, most children have mastered the aspects of reading that have primarily to do with decoding, or the sounding out of words, and are ready to focus more of their attention on comprehension, the aspect of reading that has to do with understanding and making meaning from text. Comprehension is the part of reading that really allows us to enjoy stories and learn from the things that we read. Yet comprehension does not come naturally for all students, so as teachers we need to find instructional strategies that help students develop the skills to become comprehending readers. One way to work on this is through the playing of games. Games are fun for students and often activate ways of learning and thinking that do not come through in other classroom contexts. The games in this lesson are oriented toward helping third graders have fun and stay engaged while improving their comprehension skills.

Kinesthetic Games for Comprehension

Kinesthetic games allow third graders to put their bodies to use alongside their minds and can be particularly helpful for students who do not like to sit still or who benefit from multi-sensory approaches to learning.

Beach ball comprehension

On a plastic beach ball, use a permanent marker to write different questions that can be related to a variety of texts. Have students play catch with the ball. The stripe where their hands land indicates the question they must answer about the book they are currently reading.

Comprehension tag

Let students run around playing tag, but with a twist that has them practice reading comprehension. A player is safe if he or she squats down and shouts out a descriptive sentence about the main character in his or her book. You can modify this to include different aspects of comprehension you are working on with your class.

Comprehension relay races

Break your students into teams for relay races in a gym or outdoors. When one student completes a lap back and forth, but before his or her teammate may run, the first runner must describe three details he or she learned from a nonfiction text. If your students are working on fiction, you can modify this task accordingly.

Drama Games for Comprehension

Some third graders just love to act and they can put this dramatic flair to good use if you play the games in this section.

Character day

Assign a particular day for students to dress and act the part of a favorite character. Many third graders are into series and may know a great deal about the main character in their series. Encourage students to talk in the voice of that character all day and think about how that character would respond to different situations.

Act it out

Give small groups of students passages to read together, and then ask them to act out their passages for their classmates. Classmates must be able to understand what is happening in the actors' story.

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