Boost Reading Comprehension with These 9 Pre-Reading Activities for Kids

Welcome to our guide on pre-reading activities! This guide is designed to provide parents and caregivers with practical strategies to enhance their children's reading comprehension skills.

Pre-reading skills are crucial for understanding, analyzing, and interpreting text. Therefore, nurturing these skills through pre-reading activities is essential to facilitate academic success and a lifelong love for reading.

In this comprehensive article, we'll explain what pre-reading is and explore the benefits of pre-reading activities, including how they contribute to reading comprehension skills. Plus, we’ll share a list of fun and educational pre-reading activities to try at home!

Are you ready to boost your child's reading comprehension with pre-reading activities? Here’s what you need to know.

What are pre-reading activities?

Pre-reading activities are tasks or exercises completed before delving into a book. These activities are designed to prepare readers for the upcoming material, activate prior knowledge, inspire curiosity and motivation, and establish a foundation for enhanced comprehension.

Below are some examples of common pre-reading strategies.

  • Skimming the book to get a gist of the main characters, events, and themes.

  • Predicting the plot based on the book’s title, headings, and illustrations.

  • Recalling relevant information (or experiences) related to the book topic - i.e., activating prior knowledge.

  • Establishing connections by relating the story to personal experiences, other books, or real-world events.

  • Reviewing key vocabulary and concepts that will likely show up in the book.

  • Visualizing (i.e., forming mental images of) events, characters, and settings based on descriptions.

  • Coming up with questions about the book to help guide reading and comprehension.

  • Specifying a purpose for reading the book and determining what the reader aims to derive from the story.

Now that you know more about pre-reading activities and what they involve, let’s discuss why they're important for children.

Why are pre-reading activities important?

Pre-reading activities are important because they prepare a child to read a story, increasing their chances of a successful reading experience. These activities have numerous benefits, including the following.

  • Improved reading comprehension.

Discover more tools for improving comprehension here - Reading Comprehension Activities.

  • Enhanced vocabulary development.

  • Increased critical thinking and predictive skills.

  • Promotion of active reading strategies.

  • Strengthened attention and focus.

  • Increased confidence and motivation to read.

Pre-reading activities are essential for all young learners and can be especially beneficial for a child struggling with reading.

Family having fun with pre-reading activities from Booka

9 Fun Pre-Reading Activities to Try at Home

Below is a list of exciting pre-reading activities your child will love. Incorporating these activities into your child’s reading routine can empower them to become a confident, proficient reader!

1. Title Teaser

Before reading a book, explore the title and cover with your child. Ask them to predict what the story might be about based solely on these clues.

Skills Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity: 

  • Activating prior knowledge
  • Predicting outcomes

This pre-reading activity is beneficial because it encourages children to make predictions about the story and helps them activate prior knowledge. As a result, it promotes critical thinking and anticipation.

2. Character Clues

Introduce your child to the main characters of a book (before reading it) by showing them pictures or describing their traits. Then, ask your child to predict what these characters might do in the story.

Skills Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity:

  • Making connections
  • Predicting outcomes

This activity helps children connect with the characters and anticipate their actions, enhancing comprehension and nurturing empathy.

3. Word Detective Scavenger Hunt

Choose a few key words from the book your child wants to read (ideally, words they are unfamiliar with). Write these words on index cards and hide them around the house. Then, have your child find them. Once found, discuss the meaning of each word.

Skill Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity:

  • Vocabulary development

This activity introduces new vocabulary words and their meanings, helping expand your child's word knowledge and comprehension.

4. Question Quest

Before reading, brainstorm a list of questions about the book's topic or theme. Discuss each question (and possible answers) in detail.

Skills Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity:

  • Questioning and critical thinking
  • Active engagement

This activity promotes active engagement with the text, encourages critical thinking, and helps children develop comprehension skills by seeking answers to their questions.

5. Theme Scheme

Discuss the book's theme or message with your child before reading it. Ask your child what they think the story will be about and how the characters might feel or behave based on the theme.

Skills Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity:

  • Making connections
  • Theme understanding
  • Activating prior knowledge

‘Theme Scheme’ helps children connect the story's theme to their experiences. By doing so, this activity helps build comprehension skills and promotes empathy.

6. Story Sequence Sort

Before your child reads a book, review it and write down the key events (each event on a separate card). Then, have your child arrange the cards in the order they think the events will occur in the story.

Skills Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity:

  • Sequencing
  • Story understanding
  • Critical thinking
  • Predicting outcomes
  • Activating prior knowledge

This activity helps children understand the chronological order of events in a story, enhancing comprehension and critical thinking skills.

7. Setting Search

Examine the book's setting by looking at pictures or descriptions. Discuss where the story might take place and what the environment might be like.

Skills Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity:

  • Making connections
  • Setting the scene

This pre-reading activity helps children visualize a story's setting, making it easier to understand the plot and context of the story.

8. Story Time (One of Our Favorite Pre-Reading Activities)

Before reading a book with your child, discuss the story's topic. Then, have your child tell a story based on their experiences related to the topic. For example, if the story is about making new friends, have your child tell a story about a time they remember making a friend. How did they meet? What happened? Did they experience any new feelings?

Skills Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity:

  • Activating prior knowledge
  • Making connections
  • Vocabulary development

This pre-reading activity requires children to recall memories of events, locations, and people related to the story they are about to read. As a result, it helps boost comprehension and engagement by activating prior knowledge and creating a personal connection to the story.

9. Video Voyage

Watch a short video related to the book's topic or theme. This video could be a documentary, an animated explanation, or a virtual tour. After watching the video, have your child explain what they learned and how it relates to the book.

Skills Targeted by Pre-Reading Activity:

  • Making connections
  • Building background knowledge
  • Vocabulary development

Watching a video related to a book's topic provides children with valuable background knowledge and context, making it easier for them to understand and engage with the text. Children can build connections and develop a deeper understanding of the book by connecting visual information from the video to the upcoming story.

Now that you have a list of pre-reading activities, let’s look at the resources you’ll need to implement them at home!

Resources and Tools for Pre-Reading Activities

Access to resources and tools can significantly enhance the effectiveness of pre-reading strategies. If you want to implement these activities, here are some valuable resources and tools you’ll need.

  • Children’s books (and lots of them) - you can find kid’s books online, in stores, and at the library. However, one of the best places for children’s books is a reading app for kids. Reading apps, like Booka, provide access to hundreds of high-quality books and read-aloud stories at the touch of a button!

  • Online resources - online worksheets, activity printouts, articles, guides, and carefully curated book lists published by topic experts are essential for effectively promoting literacy development.

By utilizing these resources and tools, parents can enrich pre-reading activities and support their children's literacy development at home.

Booka - Your Partner in Literacy Development

Booka is the go-to early literacy resource for parents and caregivers across the globe!

The Booka Reading App for Kids

Booka’s interactive and engaging reading app provides access to a vast library of children’s books. This extensive digital library, along with innovative features like professionally narrated stories, a personalized selection of books, and other interactive elements, makes it easy to promote literacy development at home!

The Booka Resource Website

Booka's website is a valuable resource hub for parents and caregivers. From pre-reading activities to reading strategies, parents and caregivers will find practical tools and expert advice to nurture their child's literacy development.

Here’s what you’ll find on the Booka website:

  • Ideas for at-home reading activities
  • Literacy development guides
  • Literacy basics
  • Early literacy tips
  • Book recommendations and reading lists
  • Reading challenges and more

By leveraging Booka's reading resources and reading app for kids, parents and caregivers can promote strong literacy skills and a lifelong love of reading!

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