This blog post is being written during one of the most transformative times in education, the COVID-19 Pandemic. Teachers and students are turning to distance learning methods and virtual instruction to continue to meet student needs and common core standards. During this time, it is essential to focus on the most important standards and delivering content in the most effective manner for our students. Comprehension is a key skill for students to learn, especially in grades 1st through 4th. Read on to learn about virtual comprehension activities that can be implemented now and in the future.
Virtual Comprehension Zoom Discussions
Zoom has become a popular platform for hosting video calls with students. Zoom is a great way to hold read alouds and virtual comprehension discussions with students. Students love getting to hear their teacher read aloud to them. Read alouds are key for instilling a love of reading. Zoom allows everyone to feel like they are together in the same room. This also allows the teacher and students to have high-quality discussions about the text.
Find High-Interest Reading on Epic
Epic is another great virtual comprehension platform. For a limited time, Epic is completely free for students to use. Epic has a vast library of books, educational videos, and activities. Students love it! Teachers can search Epic for specific books and assign them to students. Having students respond to the book in writing is a good way to check for comprehension. Epic has many different genres and virtual comprehension activities to serve students of all ages.
Get started with Epic here.
Google Classroom Comprehension Activities
Google Classroom is another platform that can be used to deliver virtual comprehension activities. Assign these Google Slides digital reading comprehension passages and questions via Google Classroom to your students. They are interactive and can be used for distance learning as well as in the classroom. These are perfect for targeting 1st through 4th grade comprehension standards.
Links to all Slides resources below!
Another method for presenting virtual comprehension activities is via Google Forms and Google Classroom. Students love these digital comprehension activities as they are interactive and fun. They will read the passage and answer the questions in Google Forms. Google Forms allows for a variety of question formats. This is effective as students explain their thoughts with short and long answer questions as well as other question formats.
Links to all Forms resources below!
Provide Ample Assistance for Parent Help at Home
As parents are stepping up and providing more assistance at home for their child’s learning, it is essential that teachers support them. To best support parents, give explicit details on how to help their child with comprehension. Break down the virtual comprehension activities for them. Communicate exactly what the goal of that activity is and how to best guide their student towards success. The more clear and concise teachers can be with parents and students, the better.
My good friend Haley O’Connor wrote a blog post about how parents can help make reading meaningful. Learn more about that here.
Give Them a Break from Reading Digital Passages… Let Them Watch
Students learn best when they are given different opportunities to apply their skills. Using digital passages and educational videos is an effective virtual comprehension strategy. By watching educational videos and passages, students are able to take notes on what they are listening to, allowing them to analyze the story deeply. Teachers can then ask them to email them with 3 sentences of what they learned from the video. This is a great way to assess their reading comprehension and note-taking skills.
Free online educational videos:
Here are a few other websites that can help, too.
- Amazon Prime Reading- 10 free books at a time
- Reading A-Z (paid subscription)
- Local library (Libby, OverDrive, Hoopla)
Suggested Distance Learning and Virtual Comprehension Activities
These 3 resources are available in Google Forms. They range from 1st to 2nd grade reading levels.
These 8 resources are available in Google Slides. They range from 1st to 4th grade reading levels and are aligned by Common Core standards.
- Kinder RL Passages
- Kinder RI Passages
- 1st Grade RL Passages
- 1st Grade RI Passages
- 2nd Grade RL Passages
- 2nd Grade RI Passages
- 3rd Grade RL Passages
- 3rd Grade RI Passages
- 4th Grade RL Passages
- 4th Grade RI Passages