There is nothing like a well designed teaching kit with strategies to improve reading activities. This creates active student engagement. When I am relief teaching, student engagement is the single most important goal.
But good reading activities and effective teaching strategies are guaranteed to bring about student engagement.
The problem is putting together a teaching kits with reading activities takes time.
When you develop a lesson, you want kids to spend 10x the effort you put into the activity.
These reading activities are parts of my Teaching Kit on Walking with Dinosaurs called, surprisingly enough, The Walking With Dinosaurs teaching kit .
They are stand alone exercises that can be used without the DVD.
The best way to handle a reading comprehension text is to use it as a teaching moment.
You must use effective teaching strategies otherwise the kids get absolutely no benefit from reading activities at all.
I was relief teaching with a group of year 6 students. I wanted them to engage the text and learn the skills of unpacking the passage. The goal was to have them read it silently, out loud, to a friend and generally unpack the article as much as possible. However, we didn't get past the first two paragraphs.
In fact it took a while to get past the first sentence. I used this as a teaching moment and surprisingly, student engagement was extraordinarily high.
One of my favourite teaching strategies is the scaffolding/fading technique. I like this strategies because the focus is squarely on student engagement.
Anyway, I used the text as a teachable moment and taught the kids how to use a colon.
We actually used the first sentence as a model and the kids wrote their model sentence. Think of the word "dog" and two images come to mind: ....
The kids come up with the rest. We discussed how to use extremes to create impact. It took a bit of explicit teaching to understand extremes and write phrases about elements on the extreme.
The discussion was purposeful and students engagement was high.
The kids proceeded with other sentences and the use of the colon.
When you are relief teaching, you really have to take advantage of every teachable opportunity.