Mid-Story Brain Breaks

brain breaks reading activity Dec 30, 2022

Every week or so I read to my students from a story that I have written. It is meant to reinforce the grammar topic that I am teaching. For instance, if I am teaching about the future tense the story will have several instances where someone “is going to” or “will do” something. The issue I found myself having is that while the students like the stories, they were getting bored. My challenge was to figure out how to combine what their brains need (novelty + structure + new information) without tiring myself out! I sat down and made a list of possible brain breaks I could introduce while reading that still tied into the story itself. These are NOT pre-or post-reading activities (altho most can also work that way), but activities/brain breaks you can use while you are in the middle of reading the story to help keep their attention. These are in order of how often I use them. =)

  1. Pencil Grab - Read the page, or pages, and then do a quick T/F set of questions about it. If T they grab the pencil. If F they leave it on the desk. --> This is my Go-To if I think I'm losing their interest. I usually start asking a few questions about the Student of the Week and then segue into the parts of the story we've read.
  2. Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down (Martina Bex) - Same concept as Pencil Grab but instead they put their heads down and just put their thumbs up if T and down if F.
  3. Play the Teacher (have the kids ask you questions about the story and you aren't allowed to look at the screen.)
  4. Don’t read the page to them but give them a minute to read on their own and then call on students to answer who/what/when/where/why/how questions. (I’ve noticed almost none of the kids struggle with understanding the stories!)
  5. Picture It! Let the students read the page on the screen & then ask for details that aren’t there. For example, what is the weather doing, what is the neighbors name, describe the city, etc.
  6. Karaoke: Have the students read a page with you or you read and when you pause the say the next word in English.
  7. Ping Pong Reading Spanish Class Style (I have a blog on this)
  8. Turn and Talk
  9. I like / I dislike / I’m confused
  10. Draw it - have the kids use whiteboard.fi to illustrate one of the scenes. Call on other students to… hmmm… maybe see if they can identify the scene? Haven’t done this one! Lol Maybe use whiteboards and markers instead of tech?
  11. Reader’s Theater (introverts will hate this)
  12. *Popcorn Read English Class Style version 1 (Person A reads a paragraph and then calls on Person B to read the next paragraph)
  13. *Popcorn Read English Class Style version 2 (Students have the option to say ‘pass’ when it’s their turn. My super shy kids will ‘pass’ but, to my surprise, most of my students want to read a line.)

What have you used as a brain break as you read a story in a class? Let me know and I'll add it to the list!


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