Oral Language Activities & Reading Comprehension

Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

A student's reading comprehension abilities can be difficult for any teacher to evaluate. This lesson discusses verbal strategies for assessing a student's comprehension level.

Reading Comprehension

One of the most important aspects of teaching English Language Arts is reading comprehension. This concept encompasses anything and everything that has to do with understanding the written word, which is a tremendous undertaking for any teacher to determine.

Fortunately, there are many strategies you can use as a teacher to evaluate your students' reading comprehension. Many of these involve oral activities and verbal questioning you can use not only to help you determine student learning and progression, but also to model self-evaluation so that your students can learn to analyze their own comprehension.

Retelling

The first strategy you can use in your classroom is retelling, which calls for the student to verbally convey what they have read. Be sure to explain to students ahead of time that they will be giving all the details they can remember from a reading selection. During the retelling, you can note any major details that were missed in order to determine comprehension. In addition, you can create guiding questions to adapt this method for any specific objectives to check for. Let's say your class has just read the short story 'Rip Van Winkle,' which is centered on a man who falls asleep on a mountain and wakes up 20 years later. Here are some guiding questions you can use for a retelling:

  • Explain how Rip ended up on the mountain.
  • What happened when Rip met the strangers on the mountain?
  • What did he do after he woke up?
  • How did the story end?

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