Reading activities

Reading activities

Pre-reading tasks are used to activate students’ background knowledge on the subject and motivate them to read making them curious about the information they are about to find in the reading and, as a result, facilitate the comprehension process. Most popular pre-reading activities include warm-up questions as well as various prediction techniques:

  • asking students general warm-up questions about the topic (if the reading is about the conspiracy theories about the moon landing, the teacher may ask warm-up questions “Have you heard the name Neil Armstrong? Who is he?” “What do you know about the moon landing?” “Do you think it happened in reality or was staged?” “How do you understand the term conspiracy theories?”);
  • asking students to go through some of the questions and guess the answers (they will get a chance to see if they were correct after completing the reading);
  • getting the students to write their own questions about the text;
  • showing the students any pictures that accompany the text and asking them to guess what the text is about;
  • giving the students words or phrases from the text and asking them to guess what it is about;
  • displaying part of the text and asking students to predict what comes next;
  • showing paragraph headings and asking the students to predict the information in them;
  • telling the students the topic of the text (for example , “We are going to read the text about the Apple brand”) and asking them to fill out the chart below, completing only the first two columns.
Things I know Things I would like to know Things I got to know

(from the reading)


Activities completed during the reading stage itself may include the following tasks:

  • answering any gist questions (comprehension questions using the information from the text; saying whether the statements are true/false; reading the summaries and choosing the one that best suits the text etc.);
  • jigsaw reading, i.e. diving students into groups and assigning a particular part of the text to each group; once they have finished, they need to work with a person from another group exchanging the information from their reading;
  • matching paragraphs to their corresponding headings;
  • presenting a text in a form of a reading puzzle with paragraphs cut up and mixed in random order; the students are then asked to organize them in order;
  • asking the students to transfer information from texts into graphs, charts, or other graphics;
  • completing multiple-choice exercises;
  • giving the students a series of numbers/places/ names from the text and asking them to find out what they refer to in the text;
  • completing vocabulary and grammar tasks based on the language in the text.


Post-reading stage includes follow-up exercises and further extension of either the topic or the information from the text or exploring the language related to its vocabulary. Possible activities can be:

  • conducting agree/ disagree survey on the ideas from the text and extending them into a class debate;
  • telling the story from a different point of view (e.g. if this is a story about an argument between two neighbours, the students can tell the story as if they were one of the neighbours);
  • roleplaying a situation from the text or preparing a police/radio/Tv show interview on what has happened;
  • researching the topic on the internet and making presentations (e.g. if the text was about a life of a famous fashion designer the students can research the clothes and fashion of a certain time in a certain country of their choice);
  • researching the vocabulary on the topic (if the text was about cooking as somebody’s hobby, the students can research the vocabulary related to their own hobby).


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