Reading for comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. The process of teaching comprehension is strategic and engaging. I’m Kristy and I am here to share ideas on how to engage students in reading.

What is an active reader?

An active reader is involved in the reading process. There are three phases in the reading process. The phases are before, during, and after reading. Each phase plays a critical role in how to engage students in reading. Here at “Lively Literacy Rocks” I’m going to share tips and resources to help you with activities that support students’ engagement in reading comprehension.

What do active readers do before they read?

This pre-reading activity is an example of a word splash. To read more about a word splash and other pre-reading activities, click here.

Active readers preview the text before they read. When reading nonfiction text, they examine the text features. This is a great way to engage students before reading. Discuss text features such as diagrams, captions, and maps. Often times, active readers think about what they already know. A pre-reading activity when students have some background is a word splash. The students are given a word splash that contains key words.They do a quick write using as many words as they can. Students then share their thinking. Taking a few minutes to share their thinking will also help set the purpose for reading. Thinking about the content prior to reading will improve the students’ focus and understanding of the text.

The anticipation guide template is editable.

Another pre reading activity is an anticipation guide. These have statements for the students to think about before they read. Students simply write whether they agree or disagree with each statement. This works well when students have some background knowledge on what they are reading about. Students then read the text to find out if they still agree or disagree with each statement. Students can add notes after reading to support their thinking.

Active Strategies During Reading

This reading activity helps students understand the water cycle.

In this phase of the reading process, students are focusing on the reading task and purpose. You might be wondering how to engage students in reading. Students can engage by annotating on graphic organizers, sticky notes, or jotting notes in their notebook. When we create the purpose of reading, we need to make sure that we assign pages that match that purpose. For example, if students are going to explain the water cycle, have them read just that section of the book. We need to narrow down the topic and help students process the information.


There are many reading strategies that students can apply during reading. Using bookmarks to incorporate strategies such as summarizing, making connections, visualizing, and asking questions keep students strategically thinking as they read. Stop and jot bookmarks work well with reading assignments. Make sure to allow time for students to discuss in small groups or as a class what notes they jotted down.

After Reading Engagement

This after reading activity has students rate the book.

After reading, students need to share their thinking and be validated. Have students share their ideas and reflections with the class or in group discussions. This step in the process gives students an opportunity to discuss and make connections. For example, discussing a book review will help students share their thoughts as well as hear other perspectives.


Another after reading activity is to have students share their reading responses. After reading is also a great time to confer with students to check their thinking. The after reading discussion time is a great formative piece of data that can help you monitor and adjust your instruction. Reading for comprehension is optimal when students are engaged in all three phases of reading.


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