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We know that you’re looking for ways to keep kids learning and engaged at home right now, and we’re happy to share some ideas! Last week, we shared Part 1 in this series that was all about working on sight words and the accompanying activities to do. Click here to read Part 1 now.

As a reminder, here are some daily reading activities we would recommend trying out:

  • Work on sight words (10+ minutes)
  • Read 1+  fiction item daily (20+ minutes reading time)
  • Read 1+  nonfiction item daily (20+ minutes reading time)
  • Review any new vocabulary (10+ minutes)
  • Discuss the material (10-15 minutes per book)
  • Activity Time – have your child extend their learning by creating something related to what they’ve learned (30+ minutes per book)
  • Integrate more literacy games into your weekly family fun (15+ min, 2-3x per week)
  • Read aloud at bedtime! (20 minutes daily)

Reading Fiction (20+ minutes)

Have your child spend 20 minutes reading fiction. Help them connect to the material by developing an understanding of the major elements of a story. This includes plot, setting, characters, and theme. We also want to help children make personal connections to the story and can do so by asking comprehension questions related to the material. 

Plot

  • What happened in the beginning? Middle? End?
  • We know the title of this story, what do you think it might be about?
  • What important choices did the character make? How did that change things?

Setting

  • Where is this story happening or taking place? 
  • How would the story be different if it took place:
    • Under water
    • In space
    • At the grocery store
    • In a cave

Characters

  • Who was your favourite character? Why?
  • We know what choice the character made, but what other choices did the character have? 
  • How would you describe the character’s personality?
  • Would you want to be friends with the main character?

Theme

  • What is the message of the story? 
  • What is the author trying to tell us?

Personal Connections

  • Have you ever had something similar happen? What was that like?
  • What choices would you have made? 
  • What would happen if you made a different choice?
  • How is this book similar to another story you’ve read/heard?
  • What was your favourite part? Why?

Activities (30+ minutes)

  • Create a “set” for the story, make a backdrop for the setting using boxes, or posters.
  • Re-tell the story with your own toys – lego, minifigs, critters, dolls, etc.
  • Re-tell the story as if the characters were all: dragons, squid, rabbits, stick bugs, vegetables, aliens, etc. Update certain elements of the plot now that the characters have different abilities or lack certain qualities.
  • At the end of the week, play character charades. Write down the names of your favourite characters from family read-aloud books. Act out the characters for the rest of the family to see if they can guess who you are.  
  • Highlight sight words using plastic wrap over each page and a washable marker.
  • Interview your favourite character from the book. Create a pretend podcast of your interview.
  • Re-tell the story by creating a comic strip version of the story. Create 2 “panels” each for the beginning, middle, and end.
  • Make finger puppets for the main characters using old fabric, paper, or other found materials.
  • Use sculpey or modeling clay to make your primary characters. Let them dry and then use them to re-tell the story.
  • Create an abstract painting of the emotions felt by characters at different times throughout the plot.  

 

Nonfiction (20+ minutes)

Have your child spend 20 minutes reading nonfiction. Remember, with nonfiction it’s important to recall any prior knowledge before they start, and any personal experience with the topic. Nonfiction is also an area where children gather new technical language that helps build their vocabulary. Explore the new vocabulary words ahead of time. Check the book for a glossary.

Start by asking…

  • What do we know about _________? (insert the topic: bats, planets, frogs, doctors)
  • Review new vocabulary words.  

Wrap-up…

  • Why do you think __(subject)____ is important to our world? To us?
  • What surprised you about ___(subject)___?
  • What is one thing you now know about ___(subject)___ that you can tell someone else?

Activities (30+ minutes)

  • Create a model, or diagram/drawing of an item or process you learned about in the book

For example:

    • Space/Planets
      • Use play-dough to make a model of the solar system.
      • Draw the planets in orbit and label the distance from the sun.
      • Draw/build a model of the earth cut in half to show the layers.
    • Animals 
      • Draw the outside of the body, then lay wax paper on top and draw the outline of the animal, plus internal organs. Label accordingly.
      • Draw the animal and identify their protective features and special abilities, such as improved sight, hearing, or smell. Identify their adaptability traits that allow them to survive.
    • Plants
      • Draw the same plant in each season showing their change over time: flowers, fruits, seeds, etc.
      • Draw details of leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds, etc.
    • Machines
      • Draw the machine in its different stages of work or ways it’s used.
      • Draw the machine and label mechanical parts.
      • Create an advertisement for the item.
    • History
      • Create timelines for important events.
      • Draw or re-create (a diorama) a scene important to the events that took place.
      • Create a movie poster or book cover based on the event you read about.
      • Imagine you can interview the important people from your book. Create a pretend Wikipedia page about them, or record a pretend magazine article with the interview. Draw images to enhance the articles.
  • Revisit vocabulary and concepts.
    • Highlight vocabulary words using plastic wrap over each page and a washable marker.
    • Play Jeopardy using index cards. Write the category on one side (concept, vocabulary, process) and the “question” on the opposite. Have your child select the category and then respond to the prompt.

 

Another great way to add learning and structure to your school days at home is with Hoot Reading! If you haven’t already tried a Hoot lesson, your first one is always free to try. Click here to sign up for your free lesson.

Stay tuned for the next blog, where we’ll be sharing literacy games to play with the whole family. 

 

 

About Elizabeth Hawkins Lincoln

AvatarElizabeth is a former elementary school teacher who loves to make learning and fun collide. She earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Montana (Go Griz!) and her Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She taught Gr. 3 and 5, and when she left the classroom, she worked in educational software and online teacher professional development. Elizabeth spends her free time exploring art museums, riding bikes with her family, camping, writing stories, and traveling to new places.

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