5 Comprehension Activities to use during Distance Learning!

May 31, 2020

While many teachers are still finishing up a couple more weeks of distance learning, I wanted to share 5 easy comprehension activities that can be used remotely, at home, or in a classroom!

I shared this information in a recent video so if you would like to watch or listen to it, just click below. Otherwise, scroll on to see more.

1. activating our schema

The first comprehension strategy you can practice through distance learning is to have students activate their schemas before reading nonfiction texts. You can either record yourself reading a nonfiction book, have them listen to a nonfiction book of your choice on YouTube or a site like Epic books, or have them choose any nonfiction book of their own at home! You would want to remind students first that our schema is our background knowledge or what we already think we know about a topic! Students would activate their schema first by recording some of what they know on a sheet, like this one:

After they’re finished, they would record anything new they learned from reading the book! Lastly, I review with students that often as we learn more information, our schema changes and grows. They will reflect on what they read to see if their schema has changed in any way! Here is an example from reading a dolphin passage:

Looking for some comprehension activities and strategies to try out?! This blog post shares 5 fun and FREE comprehension activities to try with students at home, during distance learning, or in the classroom! Head over to the post to grab the activities.



2. making inferences

I love having students make inferences through looking at photographs since there aren’t any words in a photograph. To do this, I usually have them use a sentence stem like this:

I can infer _____ because I can see ______.

Need ideas for teaching students to make inferences, ask questions, visualize and more? This blog post shares 5 free comprehension strategies and activities to try with kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students!

Photographs are easy to find and share through distance learning, so you have students take a look through some photos and make inferences while providing their evidence!



3. questioning before, in the middle, and after

During distance learning, you may want to remind students to keep their attention on their text while reading by asking questions! I usually teach that we can ask questions at three different times throughout the story. We ask questions before we read, while we are reading, and at the end. I actually created 6 mini books that are meant to elicit questioning awhile ago that I shared on my blog and these would be great to send home or share online with your students!

Comprehension strategies for first grade can be difficult to teach! This blog post shares 5 fun and free activities to try with your K-2 students and provides worksheets, passages, and images to use while teaching. Head over to grab them!



4. retelling

One of my favorite strategies to use when teaching retelling is called, “stop and sketch.” For this strategy, you can simply read any book and stop at three different parts throughout the story. When you stop, students will sketch or draw what has happened so far in the story. This helps them practice choosing only the important parts to draw since there is only one box. Once they are done, they can use their illustrations to retell the story!

Stop and Sketch is my favorite retelling strategy to use in kindergarten and first grade classrooms! Head over to this blog post to grab the free sheet along with 4 other fun and free comprehension strategies and activities!


5. visualizing

Lastly, I love using poems to have students practice visualizing what they hear happening. There are plenty of poems online you can find and read aloud to students. You could send them along for students to read and draw their visualization or you could send an audio recording of you reading them. If you happen to be able to meet in whole group or small group lessons virtually, you can have your students bring the visualizations and compare!


I went ahead and compiled all these sheets, poems, mini-books, etc. in a free file you can go ahead and grab here if you want to use any of these with your class: Free Comprehension Activities


How are you practicing comprehension strategies at home, in the classroom, or through distance learning?!


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  • I love watching your video. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with the beginning teacher like me.