Reading Games for 5th Grade

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.

Tired of the same types of reading lessons for your 5th grade class? Read this lesson to discover how to incorporate a variety of classroom games into your 5th grade reading curriculum. These games not only assist in increasing students' vocabulary, but they are fun and easy to play too.

Games in the Classroom

School must always focus on serious learning, right? Wrong! Sometimes the most memorable lessons for students are those in which they had some fun. In the classroom, one way to do so is to incorporate games into your lessons.

Classroom games will not only give you and your students a break from normal activities, but they can be the perfect way to increase student engagement and retention. Students love to compete, and 5th grade students are at the perfect age for purposeful classroom games. They are old enough to learn more complex rules, but not too old to think they are too cool for games. The rest of this lesson describes ideas for games with a focus on reading skills for 5th grade.

Vocabulary Games

Let's first look at games that focus on vocabulary acquisition, which is a very important skill to develop in your students. Instead of simply writing down definitions, turn unfamiliar words into a vocabulary challenge.

One way to create the challenge is to make up lists of vocabulary specific to a certain novel you are reading in class. Be sure to include page numbers on the lists. Then, in groups or alone, students can find the words and try to define them using only the context clues. Within a specific time frame, see how many words they can define. When time is up, students should share their guesses and the context clues they used. Then share the true definition and award points for groups who got it right.

Another vocabulary challenge is Stump the Class. Again, use this game while reading a class novel, as short stories might not have enough words to choose from. To play, each group or student searches the novel for unfamiliar words they think will stump the class. Then, taking turns, each group will challenge the other groups to define the words they found using only context clues. Each group gets a chance to guess, and then the definition is found in the dictionary. Award points to the groups who guessed correctly.

If you are feeling lucky, play along with the students! You can be your own team and pose words for them to figure out, or you can be a permanent guesser. In this case, if they find a word that stumps you, students can earn double or even triple points. Students love a chance to defeat the teacher.

Reading Skills Games

There are also games to help your students practice other reading skills. For instance, a sort of puzzle can be created using images of story events. Students can make these images themselves, and then mix them up for another group to put back into the proper order. Additionally, students can figure out which images represent the exposition, rising action, etc. This helps foster sequence of events and plot line skills.

Other game ideas include creating scavenger hunts, which consist of lists of items students must search for. You can create a wide variety of different types of scavenger hunts for your students. For instance, if you have just taught theme, which is the central topic or message of a piece of literature, you can create a Theme Scavenger Hunt. This would contain lists of different themes, like love, friendship, war, or revenge. Each student or group must hunt for works of fiction that contain one of those themes. The team that finds the most within a time limit gets the most points.

Another scavenger hunt can be used when learning figurative language. Once you have taught the many types of figurative language, like simile, metaphor, and personification, etc., create a scavenger hunt. List items dealing with figurative language, like a simile that makes a negative comparison. Then students must search their textbooks or poetry books to find examples. For each of these scavenger hunts, poetry is usually better to use than prose, as poems are often shorter and easier to skim.

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