Reading detectives

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By Pie Corbettpoet, author and freelance educational consultant

Pie Corbett provides ten lively literacy games to develop children’s deduction and thinking skills

Reading detectives

I was in a school in Scunthorpe and the Year 6 teacher was telling me about her children’s reading. They were struggling with ‘inference and deduction’. I’m not often given to moments of blinding revelation, but on this occasion, I had a sudden idea – quick-fire reading games could provide daily practice, just to hone-up reading skills that would then be used on complete texts. The games would only take a few minutes, could be presented on PowerPoint and be an ideal way to start a session with everyone involved. Since then I have invented about 20 games!

I built the games around the strands in the new Primary Framework for Literacy, as well as the article on reading comprehension that appears on the Standards website. Once you are familiar with the games, keep playing them by substituting different snippets of text or words, upping or lowering the level of challenge to suit the needs of your class. Demonstrate how to play the games so the children hear you thinking your comprehension processes aloud.

Of course, your class will still be reading the daily class novel and working with whole stories, poems and non-fiction texts. But, using extracts for quick-fire skills practice could provide a snappy strategy for fine-tuning reading skills that can then be applied to whole books, deepening understanding and appreciation.

ACTIVITIES Ages 7-11

1. Spot the key points

Provide a short passage. Allow the children time to locate the main facts, for example, can you find three facts in thirty seconds?

Michael Morpurgo, author of more than 60 books, likes to take his dog Bercelet for walks at Nethercott Farm, which is one of the three ‘Farms for City Children’.

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