How to Encourage Student Participation in Classroom Reading Activities

Posted on November 21 2019

How to Encourage Student Participation in Classroom Reading Activities

Spur more raised hands from your students with these tried and true techniques.

When students collaborate before a discussion, their participation in classroom reading activities typically improves.Are you a teacher who needs help improving participation in classroom reading activities? Perhaps you have a certain few who resist raising their hand or opt to skip their turn. In this post, we’ll cover a few tips that can help engage those students in classroom reading activities, and encourage them to raise their hand more often:

  • Use students’ names
  • Allow time for think-pair-share
  • Get active
  • Apply the “secret answer” technique
  • Use reading tools for kids

Continue below to learn more about how to encourage student participation in classroom reading activities.

Use students’ names

It might surprise you how much using students’ names during classroom reading activities impacts their participation. This small but personal gesture can help your class feel more connected to you, especially those who may resist participating. If you have a large class or multiple classes, it may be challenging to remember everyone’s name. A simple technique is to put place cards in front of each student. You could also print a roster with your students’ photos next to their names and study them at home.

Allow time for think-pair-share

Allowing for thinking and collaboration time is another way to help increase student confidence in their answers, which can lead to more participation. Think-pair-share is a strategy that allows students to process what they have just learned, then discuss with a partner. After asking a question during classroom reading activities, have students first consider the answer by themselves, then discuss their response with a neighbor or partner. Finally, ask students to share their answers with the class. By giving students more time to think and the opportunity to collaborate with others, you may find more raised hands. 

Get active

Instead of sitting at their desks and raising hands, perhaps encourage participation in classroom reading activities in other ways that allow your students to be more active. For instance, standing up or sitting down in response to a list of comprehension questions can be a fun yet educational way to engage students. You could have students stand up if they think a statement is true and sit down if they think it’s false. Some teachers find this tactic particularly useful right after lunch when students may have lower energy levels. Alternatively, you could ask students to demonstrate their comprehension by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down in response to yes/no questions.

Apply the “secret answer” technique

A major factor in low participation in classroom reading activities has to do with confidence. Some students may feel afraid to answer for fear of getting it wrong. The “secret answer” technique allows the whole class to privately share their answers, without fear of judgment by their peers.

To try this technique, assign a number to each possible answer to a question. Have your class arrange in lines, not facing each other. Then, ask students to hold up the number of fingers in front of their heart that reflects their response to your question. You’ll have a class full of participants who are engaging in your lesson!

Use reading tools for kids

Reading tools like the Toobaloo Whisper Phone and the Eye Lighter Colored Overlays Tool can help enhance reading and speech skills, which can boost both confidence and participation in class.

The Toobaloo is a tube-shaped reading helper that is designed to help with reading, speech, comprehension, and pronunciation. It provides immediate auditory feedback when students speak softly, allowing them to make any necessary adjustments and seed key concepts.

The Eye Lighter is a bright ruler-shaped instrument that can highlight multiple lines of text or underline a single sentence. This reading aid for kids helps students with eye tracking, reading comprehension, and reading fluency.

These tips for encouraging participation in classroom reading activities can help engage your students, especially those who resist raising their hands. For more reading and speech tools and tips for teachers, continue reading our blog!


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