Hands-On Reading Activities for 5th-Grade Students

Your 5th grader may be improving his or her ability to synthesize texts, reading from a variety of genres and enjoying more complex books. Doing hands-on reading activities at home can strengthen your child's literacy and critical thinking skills while allowing him or her to be creative. Read on for more information.

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Reading Standards for 5th Grade

If your child is currently in 5th grade, he or she is likely reading more difficult works of fiction and nonfiction than just a couple years ago, as well as choosing books from various genres. By now, your 5th grader may understand similes and metaphors, make inferences, discuss literary themes and find similar elements in different works. He or she may also make comparisons among settings, characters or events. At home, you can encourage your child to build on these skills by incorporating hands-on activities into his or her reading time.

What Are Some Hands-On Activities for 5th-Grade Readers?

Making Postcards to Describe Settings

Whenever your son reads a book, ask him to create a postcard from the book's main location using card stock. He can either draw an image or make a collage of photos that represent the story's setting. On the back of the postcard, he can write the date and include information about the book's title, author and primary setting. Encourage him to display his postcard collection.

Determining the Main Idea

This activity can help your child understand the main points in a nonfiction text. Find some articles or books on subjects she enjoys that contain no subheadings in the text. Help her find the main idea in each of the first few paragraphs and think of an appropriate subheading for each paragraph that conveys this idea. Ask her to write each subheading on a sheet of paper, along with the main idea of the paragraph. She can continue through the rest of the reading on her own.

Interviewing Characters

In order to do this activity, you must read the same book or play that your 5th grader is reading. Ask your son to choose a character from the reading and make a list of the character's physical traits, thoughts and actions. Instruct him to use these characteristics to create a series of interview questions. Play the part of the character and have him interview you using his questions. Afterwards, you can choose a different character and reverse your roles, so that you're the interviewer and he's the character.

Finding Metaphors in Poetry

A metaphor is figurative language that compares two dissimilar things to imply a commonality between them. Find poems with one or more metaphors, such as Dreams by Langston Hughes or Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson. Ask your daughter to read these poems, identify the metaphors and explain why they're effective. Challenge her to create her own metaphors and write a poem using them.

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