This article suggests an activity which focuses and engages students when they must read literary works in class. It also a great activity that will encourage students with minimal reading skills to become engaged in the literary work at hand.
Improve Skills with Reading Logs
Most students do not like reading because they do not comprehend what they are reading. For the most part, these students lack interest or have poor reading skills.
One way to engage students is to make them keep a reading log. A reading log helps students pay attention.
On loose leaf paper, have students label elements of literature on the left hand margin.
- Use the following literary elements: setting, protagonist, antagonist, conflict, resolution,major characters, minor characters, etc. You can instruct students to use whatever elements you wish for them to use.
- To the right, have students add details about the protagonist. Tell students to ask themselves: Why is he the protagonist? Who opposes him? What is his name? What is his appearance? How does he function in the story?
- Students do the same steps for each literary element they select.
What is the point?
Students become more engaged in the story if they know they have to keep up with what is occurring and write notes about it. Not only do students learn to follow the plot of the story, but they learn to take thorough notes. These notes will eventually become the student’s study guide for the test, and they quickly learn the importance of writing copious notes.
If students write notes, they are much more likely to remember what it is they read. This also helps focus those students who do not like to read as well as those students who have a difficult time reading.
After reading a text, collect the reading logs and give students a completion grade. Students almost feel as if they are being rewarded for doing what they are supposed to do, which makes students feel good about themselves.
What they do not realize though—is that as they are writing, they are retaining the information and helping themselves.