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4th 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.

Most fourth graders have mastered the aspects of reading that deal primarily with decoding, but are still working on comprehension. This lesson gives you some fun strategies to help your fourth graders practice understanding what they have read.

Why Play Comprehension Games?

Have you ever thought about how to teach your fourth graders continuing reading skills in ways that get beyond simply reading and answering questions? How can you work on a sophisticated level, but still keep instruction energetic and lighthearted? One great answer has to do with the incorporation of educational games, or fun activities that activate students' learning and push them to think deeply and critically.

By fourth grade, many of your students can read fairly independently. Their task as readers now comes to focus on comprehension, or learning to make sense of what they have read. Fourth graders can comprehend on both a literal level, answering questions about directly what is in the text, and an inferential level, looking beyond the text to apply their reading to real-life connections, morals, topics, and ideas. The games in this lesson are popular with fourth graders and help them work together to push their reading comprehension to the next level.

Acting Games

Many fourth graders love to act. These games help them put dramatic flair into making sense of what they have read.

  • Be a Character

In this game, students spend a class period acting out the part of a character from a favorite book. They should interpret things from the character's perspective and attempt to talk in the character's voice.

  • Improvisational Freeze

After students have read a scene in a book together, either as a read aloud or in a book group, they should act the scene out. One student in the group may call on the actors to freeze and step in at any time. That student can alter how the scene plays out. The game gives students a chance to think about predictions or the ways plot can look different depending on character motivations and behaviors.

  • Author Charades

When many students in the class have read books by the same author, they can play charades, acting out the title or a scene from the book and having their classmates guess, based on main ideas, which author, scene, or book the student is enacting.

Partner Games

Fourth graders are often very social people, and these games can be played in partnerships or small groups.

  • Roll the Dice

Give each partnership a board that is marked with general questions about text. Questions might include story elements like character, problem, and solution. They can also include broader questions like examples of cause and effect or author's purpose. Players take turns rolling dice and moving a game piece. When their piece lands on a square with a question, they should talk about that question in relation to a book they have recently finished. The game helps students talk about their books in a structured and fun fashion.

  • Nonfiction Spinner

When students are reading nonfiction, have them work in partnerships with a spinner. Questions around the spinner might include: What is one fact you have learned from this text? What questions do you still have after reading this text? Why did the author write this text? What details support the main idea of the text? What opinions did the author express in this text? Each time a student spins, he or she should tell his or her partner the answers to the question the spinner landed on.

  • Sequence It Together

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