Reading Comprehension Games for 5th Grade

Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

Engaging fifth grade students in reading comprehension can be challenging. In this lesson, we will discuss how different games can be easily turned into reading games that engage students in reading and kinesthetic activity at the same time.


Reading comprehension is perhaps one of the most important skills students need to master. Often, however, it is one of the most boring topics of the day for students. Traditionally it has been taught with reading passages, leveled reading groups, and comprehension questions. However, it isn't likely to inspire students to persist through more challenging tasks. In this lesson, we will look at different types of reading games that can make reading a kinesthetic activity for 5th-grade students.

Reading Charades

In a classroom, charades are more than a party game. It can be a very powerful tool to not only get your fifth-grade students up and moving, but to get them engaged in the reading. There are many ways you can play reading comprehension charades in your classroom; it just depends on the age of your student and the type of text.

The simplest way to play is for the teacher to create a set of reading comprehension questions based on the text being used. Students have to act out their answers, which their team, in turn, has to guess. The game can be played with a single teammate acting it out, or using a partner if you are using more complex questions. Once the answer is guessed (or not), the acting team has to give the question and explain how they were trying to show the answer. If you are working with fiction, this is a great strategy that works easily on theme, symbol, plot, and character related questions.

Reading Charades Procedure

Reading Charades Procedure

If you are working with non-fiction, such as historical or scientific text, you can still play charades. Depending on the level of complexity of the text, you may choose to focus your questions on key terms or concepts that students could act out. Cause and effect questions work well with charades too.

Reading Picto-Jeopardy

So, how are your drawing skills? Chances are you have many visual learners in your fifth-grade class who perhaps even draw better than you. So try turning your reading comprehension questions into a game of Picto-Jeopardy. In this version, students have to draw the clues, and not speak, while their teammates guess the question.

The first step is to take your comprehension questions for reading, whether it is a novel or informational text, and turn them around so that they follow the typical jeopardy ''Who is … '' ''What is …'' format. You can even tweak them a bit more using levels of questions such as Bloom's if you want to, but in those cases, you might want to give your students a list of question terms such as ''compare'' or ''explain'' so they have it when they are playing, in order to scaffold the game.


Picto-Jeopardy Reading Game

You can also choose to scaffold the game by creating two or three hints for each question the team has to draw out. For this to work, make each clue on a different card so you can hand them one at a time to the team who is drawing it. If you do this, it also helps to color code the cards to make it easier to sort them out, and match the questions back up at the end of the game, so you can use them over and over again.

Reading Battleship

Believe it or not, Battleship can be a powerful reading comprehension game for your students. Most of us remember Battleship as a game where you place your ships on a board and your opponent tries to guess their location. Once the opponent ''hits'' your ships so many times, he wins, and you lose the game. However, when you are incorporating reading into the game, it becomes useful to any English teacher.

Reading Comprehension Battleship Game

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account