Station Three: Visualization
Visualization makes reading comprehension possible. When readers visualize, there is no right or wrong answer. Each reader will create a unique set of mental images based on the text.
As we read, we create mental images of what is happening in the story as it unfolds, based on what we already know and understand about the world. -Danielle Mahoney, Scholastic
Have fun with the visualization station. You can provide your students with a plethora of creative options, or you can stick to the essentials. It’s up to you. The options are endless – stickers, markers, construction paper, colored pencils, etc. It really depends on what you have access to, and what you are prepared to clean up when the activity ends! You can also be flexible with the visualization requirements: will your students be required to draw one picture, several pictures, or include captions? Again, the structure and format is extremely flexible.
Station Four: Reading Comprehension Cubes
One of my favorite Amazon finds for the classroom are these Reading Comprehension Cubes. They are available for a variety of text types, and they are a hit with students. Each side of the cube poses a different question or activity, keeping students engaged and on task. The Reading Comprehension Cubes come in a package of six, which gives you tons of options for future use as well. If you have time, you can dive into a DIY project and create the cubes on your own using dice and pre-printed worksheet. Either way, it will most likely be the most popular station activity.
Station Five: Summarizing
Summary writing isn’t the easiest skill to master. It takes a decent amount of time and practice to be able to craft an effective summary. Students need to be able to summarize all types of texts, extracting only the main ideas and key details. Utilizing a graphic organizer at the summary writing station will help students narrow down and focus on the appropriate information. The inherent scaffolding a graphic organizer provides sets students up with a framework for picking and choosing content. Students can work from a pre-printed organizer or they can copy one you have drawn on the board. Click here to take a look at ten different summary writing graphic organizers available for download from Literacy in Focus on TpT.
Station Six: Text Structure
If your reading comprehension stations are centered around fiction text, utilizing a plot diagram works well for analyzing text structure. Download a free plot diagram here. Informational text gets a bit more complicated. Expository text is challenging for many students as it often deals with complex and unfamiliar content and is structured in a variety of ways. Like the summary writing station, a graphic organizer can be used at this station as well. Six ideas for graphic organizers are listed below.
- Explanatory: Students identify the topic and list supporting details.
- Informative: Students identify the main idea, supporting details, and textual evidence.
- Problem/Solution: Students identify the problem and solution presented in the text.
- Compare and Contrast: Students identify similarities and differences between two different topics or ideas.
- Cause and Effect: Students identify the cause and effect (in either order) presented in the text.
- Sequence of Events: Students list the events presented in the text in chronological order.
Station Seven: Text Connections
There are three levels of text connections that students can make when reading new texts: text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world. Making authentic connections with the text is a skill that needs to be reinforced, and, with repeated exposure, will lead to improvement in reading comprehension. Read more about text connections activities here. Download everything you need for your text connections station from Literacy in Focus on TpT.
Text Connections Activities, Worksheets, Anchor Charts, & Posters from Literacy in Focus on TpT
Aside from the benefits mentioned above, another great aspect of the reading comprehension stations is that they can be used again and again! Once you have finalized and adjusted the format and structure that best meets the needs of your students, you can apply the strategy with many different texts throughout the year. It takes time to improve reading comprehension skills, but, with repeated practice, you will see lasting results.