Hands-on Guided Reading through Comprehension Construction

Learning by doing.

Learning through play.

Hands-on learning.

We all know that these are the ways young students learn best, right?  For decades, early childhood experts have maintained that children learn most effectively through hands-on learning experiences.  It’s the same reason why we pull out those math manipulatives and STEM Bins® on a regular basis.  And it’s the same reason that our kids’ interest levels, engagement, and motivation is always through the roof during those hands-on experiences.

But what about our language arts instruction?  Well….that can be a little tougher to create true hands-on learning opportunities, especially when we gear so much of our instruction to their independent reading and writing levels. Of course, we try to make our literacy centers as engaging as possible.  However, for many logical reasons during our literacy instruction, our students are either holding a book or a pencil only.

I started to think that there HAS to be a more meaningful way to make our guided reading instruction more meaningful and concrete for our students, especially our kinesthetic learners and spatial learners.  If we can make it hands-on, we can appeal to ALL learning styles, make that new content stick, and tap into the ways our little ones learn best.

Hands-on Guided Reading

Introducing my brand new Comprehension Construction Toolkits for K-3rd Grade…HANDS-ON guided reading instruction that appeals to visual-spatial, auditory, AND kinesthetic learners!

Watch a video demo below:


These toolkits are ideal for small group guided reading as students build and discuss components of the text as a group. Materials in the kits are low prep and are used for multiple comprehension skills and activities.  Students are provided a visual, yet concrete way to “build” each piece of the text as they comprehend and explain it. They can further demonstrate their understanding by writing or drawing on the provided graphic organizers for each skill.

Check out some of these examples:

After reading their leveled text, students retell the beginning, middle, and end of the story, adding one piece to their LEGO/building brick pyramid as they share each event.  They can they solidify their understanding by writing or drawing the story events on the matching graphic organizer.  Did you notice how the shapes on the graphic organizer match the shapes of the LEGO structure to a tee?! All the provided organizers match the shapes of the structures, which your visual-spatial learners will LOVE.  It’s also a simple way to help your kinesthetic learners transition their structure to written form. To save copies, slide the organizers into page protectors for your kids to write and wipe responses with fine tip dry erase markers.

This idea was born out of my students’ eternal love for constructing cup towers at any chance possible! The cups are coded with symbols to represent different story elements.  After reading their leveled text, students share each story element while building their cup pyramid from the bottom up.  They can then record the story elements on the matching graphic organizer.

Summarizing is always my LEAST favorite comprehension skill to teach, but not anymore! For this activity, students build each piece of the story into a square with popsicle sticks and Velcro.  It’s a simple, concrete way for students to practice building and writing text summaries.

The full pack includes 15 comprehension skills and and additional 6 word work skills such as blending and segmenting sounds, counting syllables, and identifying compound words and contractions that are ideal for emergent readers.

21 matching graphic organizers are also provided for written extensions.

I’m so excited about this new item and I hope you are too! Let’s shake up our guided reading by bringing more hands-on experiences to our students!