These informational text comprehension activities are designed to be used during your small group instruction. This is a part of our free Small Group Toolkit.
The link to download the complete, free informational text comprehension activities described in this post can be found below the description of the activities at the bottom.
Print, cut and laminate the items you feel you might use consistently with your groups and place them close to where you meet with your groups.
Having these types of things printed and ready will hopefully help to cut down on some of your planning time.
The materials we are sharing below have been created to help make setting up your small groups easier. Using the materials we have provided, you will be able to cover a variety of skills using any books your students are reading.
Resources within this Informational Text Comprehension Collection:
Connection Cards – These cards are meant to be used as students read and think of different types of connections they would want to share during a discussion of the text. They should be encouraged to take a card and jot down some words or phrases that will help them to remember their connections. The teacher can then look at the cards to decide if they should be shared during a group discussion or a one-on-one conference.
Building Background Knowledge Boards – There are two versions of this poster that is essentially just a place for individual students or the small group to record what they already know (or think they know) about the topic of the text. Once laminated, the students can each write what they know in individual boxes (or they can place a Post-It with their thoughts in the boxes). Or you might decide to use the group board and record everyone’s knowledge together.
Author’s Purpose Poster – This simple poster can be used as a teaching tool for helping your students to understand the different reasons authors might have for writing. After initial instruction on author’s purpose, this poster can be used as a springboard for group discussions or conferences.
Questioning Mat – We always want to encourage our readers to ask questions as they read. Print and laminate these question mats and have them available for students to record questions they may have. You might want to encourage them to only write one or two questions, but your more advanced groups could potentially write more.
Reading Spinners – We have created two levels of spinners so you can choose the one that is best suited to the text and small group you are working with. These spinners can be used in a guided way after a text is read in its entirety or it can be modeled and expected of students in the group as you are reading with individuals in the group.
Sharemarks – This is a set of 9 bookmarks students can choose to use as they are reading the text independently and find something that they want to share. The idea is that once the group begins discussing the text, the students can turn in the books to their sharemarks to talk about various parts of the text. (We have left one of the bookmarks blank so that you can add a share mark that might be specific to a particular text you are using for a group.)
“My Share” Cards – Use these share cards as a way to spark discussions in your small groups. Choose the ones that work with the specific texts you are reading. Place them face down in a stack. Each student chooses a card before reading and then must be prepared to address the question during a discussion about the text.
“My New Learning” Mats – Laminate these mats and give them to students in your small group to work on independently as they read the text. They can then be used for discussion purposes within the group or during a reading conference.
Topic/Fact & Main Idea/Detail Bookmarks – These are two simple sets of bookmarks that students can use as they read to signify & mark details or facts. They can simply put the bookmarks into their books in order to share during a conference or you can have them engage in some writing (on the bottom of the bookmark) about their new learning.
I’m Stuck! – When we are working our way around our small groups to read with specific students, we want the rest of the group to be engaged in reading. Unfortunately, if students run into problems that can be difficult as they attempt to get our attention for help. We have created this chart to give students reminders of what they might do until the teacher can talk to them about their misunderstandings or problems. Read and discuss the chart with your groups so they have a clear understanding of what to do when they get “stuck” and the teacher is busy with another child. (We have also provided a blank chart so that you and your groups can develop your own norms if you wish.)
Reading Job Cards – These jobs are meant to set a purpose for student reading and also to guide the framework for a discussion after reading. Choose the cards that suit the text and students you are working with.
What We Have Learned Poster – This poster would just serve as a final place for the group to record their new learning from the text.
Compare & Contrast Mat – In informational texts there can be several instances where we want students to compare & contrast topics, concepts or ideas. These mats can be laminated and ready to go for all of your informational texts.
You can download the complete, free collection here:
You will find our complete small group toolkit collection here: Small Group Toolkit
If you haven’t used highlighter tape like this, we highly suggest you check it out! It is great for when you want your students to highlight but they are using real books. (affiliate link)