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Reading-Relating-Responding Activity


  • Language Arts
  • History
  • General Social Students
  • General Science
  • Foreign Language


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12


Brief Description

A creative, competitive, and fun reading comprehension strategy.



  • work cooperatively to read, share, and answer questions about selected text.
  • read for detail.
  • summarize their reading.


reading, comprehension, strategy, reading for detail, cooperative

Materials Needed

  • reading text (see Before the Lesson below)
  • envelopes
  • a toy ball

The Lesson

Before the Lesson
Before the lesson, the teacher must prepare two things:

  • Select a reading passage of some length (length depends on students' grade level and abilities), photocopy the passage, and use scissors to cut the passage into three nearly equal parts. Be sure the text parts have meaning on their own. (Content-area reading is good for this activity.)
    For example, if the text is 6 paragraphs long, divide the text into three 2-paragraph sections.

    Make multiple copies of each section of text. For each group of four students, place in an envelope one copy of each of the three text passages and a blank sheet of equal size with the word "Rep" written on it.

  • Prepare a page of comprehension questions related to the chosen text. The best question formats include short answer, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, and multiple-choice. Ten questions would be an ideal length for most grade levels. Make a copy of the question sheet for each group, and hang each group's question sheet in a different part of the classroom.

The Lesson
Arrange students into groups of four. Have students give their group a group name. Give each group an envelope and have each student reach into the envelope and select -- without looking -- one of the four sheets. Then explain the instructions of the task.

  • Each student will read to him/herself the text on his/her sheet of paper. Set a reasonable time limit (based on the students' grade level and the length of the text) for students to read. They are not allowed to take any notes.
    The student who selected the paper with the word "Rep" (short for representative) on it will sit still while the other members of the group are reading.
  • When students have finished reading, they will put their papers back into the group's envelope.
  • Then, one at a time, students will share with their group's Rep what they learned from reading their text passage. The Rep listens, but is not allowed to write notes.
  • Then instruct the group Reps to stand up and go to the nearest posted sheet of comprehension questions. Set a time limit and instruct the Rep to write his/her group name at the top of the question page and answer the questions based on the information that other members of the group have shared.
  • When time is up, collect the papers and distribute each team's paper to a different group. Elicit answers to the questions from students as each group Rep scores the other group's paper.
  • Give a small prize for the group that got the most correct answers.

Follow-Up Activity: Snowball Summary
As a follow-up activity, have students share an oral summary of the text. In a "snowball summary," the teacher passes a small toy ball to one student. That student starts the summary. When the teacher asks the student to throw the ball to another student, the student who catches the ball must continue the summary. Continue the activity until the text has been fully summarized.


The group that gets the highest score will be the winner.

This is an activity that can be repeated often. As students become familiar with the purpose of the activity, they will also learn the importance of reading for detail and sharing as much information as possible.

Submitted By

Fatih Durmus, Ozel Kasýmoglu Coskun Lisesi in Istanbul, Turkey

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