As much as I wish my students were all obsessed with reading, I recognize that many of them come with fears or walls built up. I owe thanks to many of my classroom teachers and school librarians for helping me become the bookworm I am today. It was their unique and engaging reading games that helped me form a positive friendship with reading. I hope, like we all do, that we can play a part in igniting a love of reading in our students!
One way to help develop a positive foundation between your students and reading is through presenting reading lessons in a fun, game-like manner! I incorporate reading games as much as possible to create a relaxed learning environment for my kids. Whether you are a classroom teacher or a school librarian, I hope you find a new reading game, or two, that will help you to foster a love of reading among your students!
Lights! Camera! Action!
One game-like activity I always love to use with my students is taking a story and turning it into a skit!
If we are doing an author study or are focusing on a genre, I will split my classes into small groups.
Each group receives a story from the author or a story from the genre we are studying.
Their goal is to create a skit retelling the story they just read together. My only rule is that each group member needs to have a part.
Once I choose the picture books, I plan ahead for any possible props.
If time allows, I let my students create any extra props they would like.
Creating and acting out skits is a great reading game that promotes reading comprehension, encourages creativity, and helps to build public speaking skills!
You may have worked together with some of your friends and done a breakout or escape room. It’s a challenge where you have a set amount of time to solve puzzles, find clues, and “escape” before time runs out. They are so much fun!
You can bring this same kind of experience to your students as you guide them through reading!
My students get excited about our breakout rooms. I typically use them on review days to reinforce the reading skills we have been studying.
I have a collection of Breakout or Escape Activities that cover a range of topics from Back to School to the Dewey Decimal System to Genres.
Each activity comes with three challenges that have different puzzles. Activities take about 30 – 45 minutes and can be split into multiple class periods!
These breakout escape room activities are great for the library, but they can also be used by classroom teachers too. Better yet. . . do a collaboration activity. Work with the classroom teachers to determine the reading skill that students need to review or practice. Then divide up the challenges so that some are done in the classroom and others in the library.
Breakout Activity Breakdown
Before students arrive, I organize them into small groups. I assign where the groups will be stationed by making simple name tents with their group number written on them.
At each group spot, there will be the challenges they need to solve. I have done it where all three challenges are placed at their spot.
Other times, I have given the first challenge out. Once solved, they bring it up to see if the code is correct, and then the next challenge is given to them.
When students arrive, we go over a scenario to set the stage together. Then students have the designated amount of time to work on solving the puzzles to find the clues to crack the code!
Your students will remember having fun while working collaboratively and reviewing important reading skills! There will be high energy, especially if you encourage more of a race-like aspect to it!
Do I Hear a Bingo?
Who doesn’t love a good game of Bingo? I used to have a collection of dabbers that would pile up because the students loved playing Bingo so much.
A lot of our students may already be familiar with playing Bingo. If not, it’s a simple game that is accessible to all learners at all different reading levels!
Bingo games are flexible, and boards can be easily created or switched out depending on the reading skill you are focusing on. You can create boards that have different character names, settings, and events from the story that you and your class have read. Maybe you want to focus on the key vocabulary you have been working on, such as different types of genres.
I like playing bingo with my students after we have talked about and toured the library. When students come to the school library, I talk to them about the Dewey Decimal System and how it helps us keep all the different types of books organized. By playing this reading game, students practice how to use the system and identify books for the category called out.
In my Dewey Decimal System Bingo Game, there is a set of 32 cards. Each card has a Dewey call number and a category. The classroom teacher or the librarian will call out the book title, and the student will cover the category that the book belongs to.
I try to have small prizes on hand, especially on days we are playing bingo! You can play traditional bingo, or you can do four corners, X, or cover all. These options depend on the size of your group and how much time you have!
Class Story Chain
Another reading game that my students have found engaging is creating a class story chain. This is a wonderful game for working on the skills of visualization and describing words. You can also remind students that the story needs to include story elements, a problem, climax, and solution, or any other literary topics you have been working on.
I have all my students sit down in a circle in our gathering space. Before we start, I remind them they have one sentence each turn. The sentence should be as imaginative or creative as they can make it, so we can visualize the story in our heads.
I start off the story with an opening sentence to give an example for my students. My first sentence might be, “Once upon a time, in a small village, there lived a mischievous girl named Rosa.”
I start with the first student to my right, and that student will add the next sentence. The next student will go, and the next, and so on, until the story comes to an end with the last student or time runs out!
Creating a story chain gives students a chance to collaborate, be creative, and practice their active listening skills. They can work on their storytelling skills and use more descriptive vocabulary. Plus, they all love to hear what their classmates will say next!
The story is truly unraveling as they go, and it’s heartwarming to hear their gasps or giggles when they hear the next sentence.
To take it a step further, make an audio recording of the story during the activity. Later, transcribe the story and have students add illustrations. Bind the story into a book and add it to a special shelf in the library or classroom.
Reading Games Relay
This reading game will need some prep and time to put on for your students, but the experience will be memorable for them!
Split your students into teams of 3 – 5. Around your classroom or library, there will be about five stations with different reading tasks or challenges:
- Reading Comprehension – Have a book at the stations with prewritten comprehension questions. Students will have to read the book together and answer the questions before moving on.
- Vocabulary Challenge – Students match vocabulary words to their definitions and write them in sentences.
- Book Search – Students will need to find books around the space that match the genre or criteria given.
- Reading Aloud – Students take turns reading a paragraph or short passage story, focusing on their fluency and using expression.
- Book Trivia – Students answer questions about popular books and characters.
Each group will be assigned a first station to start at. You can run this like a traditional relay where the first student completes task 1, tags the second student to complete task 2, etc. Or, make this a group challenge where the entire team moves from task to task. By keeping everyone actively involved in each task, you will keep them engaged and learning throughout the lesson.
Reuse Games Around Your Room to Turn Into Reading Games
A simple reading game idea that can be accomplished with a little prep is reusing popular board games or card games you already have. I am a big fan of Jenga and Connect Four, especially when playing them to help practice reading skills.
I have several sets of Jenga, so I can break my class into groups of 3 – 4 players. If they are groups of 3, I let them play individually, but if there are groups of 4, they can partner up.
Before my students start playing, I prepare the Jenga pieces and make question cards. I color code the wooden blocks and match that color to the cards.
For example, some Jenga pieces will be colored red to match the red cards that will ask a question about characters. I will also have a category for events, settings, and vocabulary. Students will draw a card, answer the question aloud, and then remove the matching colored Jenga piece.
I use Connect Four in a similar way to help my students practice their reading skills. Each of the Connect Four game pieces will have a solid color sticker on them. The color matches with a question card they have to answer about their book. You can change the focus skill easily if you would rather focus on vocabulary or types of genres, for example.
Having familiar games for students to play while working on reading helps take away some of the stress or fear that comes with reading. The games help the students to associate a positive experience with reading as well.
Digital Reading Games
When my students can access devices, I see their motivation and engagement skyrocket through the roof.
Digital reading games are interactive and give off an authentic game-like feel. Leveling up, earning points, or unlocking rewards brings excitement and helps kids be more willing to do the work to get the points.
Another bonus of digital reading games is that they can focus on specific reading skills.
From library skills to comprehension to fluency, students can practice and apply their knowledge while having fun playing digital reading games.
My Dewey Decimal System Review PowerPoint Game and Library Skills PowerPoint Review Game offer two different types of digital reading games that will help your student review the Dewey Decimal System and Library Skills you have been working on all year.
The Dewey Decimal System Review is pirate themed. Students are shown a cover of a picture book, and they choose the correct Dewey category for the book from three choices.
The Library Skills PowerPoint Review Game is jeopardy-style, which may be familiar to some of your students. You can split your students into teams, or you can play as a whole group. Read the question on the slide and then answer it correctly. If correct, you get the number of points the question is worth!
Are You Ready to Bring Reading to Life with Reading Games?
I hope these ideas help to inspire you to gamify your students’ reading experiences! To help you get started, I have a Free Digital Breakout resource for you to use with your students. This activity will help teach your students how they will need to work together to solve the puzzles to find the codes that will unlock the locks!
Save Post for Later!
Remember to save this post to your favorite teaching or reading Pinterest board to return to later when you need ideas for reading games!