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Looking for Reading Educational Activities for Kids, Tweens and Teens? Look no Further!

Posted on Posted in Blog, Color Me Educated, Reading/English

Looking for Reading Educational Activities for Kids, Tweens and Teens? Look no Further!

Who remembers round robin reading in school? You know when the teacher chooses a book and everyone is supposed to take turns reading a sentence?  Today researchers argue that round robin reading is an ineffective way to enhance reading. (If you visit your child’s classroom and see this – remember to ask the teacher questions about it later.)  As for my generation, basically we got short changed.  However, it’s a new day for our children.  The name of the game in reading is that children should not only be able to recognize words and read fluently but they should also be able to comprehend what they are reading.  Does the story make sense, do they understand how the author unfolds the plot, what do they think about the question of morals and values or societal issues that the author included in the story telling?  These are a few of the important reading skills that all children, from pre-K to college, need to build in order to become successful in school. 
PTSY is here to help with the following reading activities that are not only common core friendly but also include books that have characters of color.


Enjoy and happy learning!!





 What will they comprehend? Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning.


 Read the book - The Bluest Eye


Pecola Breedlove, the central character of The Bluest Eye, prays each night for the blue-eyed beauty of Shirley Temple. She believes everything would be all right if only she had beautiful blue eyes. The narrator, Claudia MacTeer, tries to understand the destruction of Pecola, who is raped twice by her father. Traumatized by the attacks, she visits minister Micah Elihue Whitcom, who gives her poisoned meat to feed his old, sick dog. Driven to madness, she invents an imaginary friend, who reassures that her eyes are the bluest in the world.


First have your high schooler write down or discuss with you what they feel the overall theme is for The Bluest Eye. 
How does this novel convey society’s beliefs about standards of beauty in America?
Read passages with your high schooler or have them write down for you pages where they believe Morrison best illustrates Pecola’s suffering from feeling ‘less than’ due to her beliefs about what is beautiful and how she does or does not match up to such ideals.
Lastly, have your child watch the video clips from Anderson Coopers Doll Test study


Discuss with them or have them write in a page or two the results of the study and how far they feel American culture has come in regards to notions of beauty.







 What will they comprehend? Determine a theme or central idea of the story. Also, analyze how the story develops and how to provide an unbiased summary of the story.


The Tequila Worm



Sofia comes from a family of storytellers. Here are her tales of growing up in the barrio, full of the magic and mystery of family traditions: making Easter cascarones, celebrating el Dia de los Muertos,preparing for quincea–era, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and curing homesickness by eating the tequila worm. When Sofia is singled out to receive a scholarship to an elite boarding school, she longs to explore life beyond the barrio, even though it means leaving her family to navigate a strange world of rich, privileged kids. It's a different mundo, but one where Sofia's traditions take on new meaning and illuminate her path.


Once your middle school scholar has read this book ask them to tell you about the theme
First, you can have your scholar make connections with this book by watching this episode of Good Times (Thelma’s scholarship)



What connections or similarities do they see with Thelma’s character in this episode and Sofia?


Need tips on how to find the theme? No worries. Have your middle school scholar think about:
Text features (i.e. headings, bold-type words, etc.).
What is the purpose of the text (i.e. entertain, persuade, inform, show cause/effect, compare/contrast, express an opinion, etc.).
What are the three most important morals/values you found while reading the story?


Next, they can write a summary of the book.
Guide them with these tips:
Determine the central idea of the text (see above).
Make sure your summary reflects the structure of the original text.  For example, if the text is in chronological order, the summary should be as well.
Leave out minor details, events in the story that are not truly significant.









What will they comprehend? Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
Read book – Yolanda’s Genius


Yolanda is a great big girl and strong for her age, bigger and stronger and smarter than anyone else in the fifth grade. She is cool and streetwise, too, and afraid of no one. It's easy for her to watch out for her little, first-grade brother, Andrew. But their mother, a legal professional and a widow, is concerned about crime and drugs in her children's Chicago school. She moves them all to a smaller town. Yolanda, at first, is scornful of her new town. And Andrew, who never talks much, is having trouble learning to read. What he loves to do is play on the old harmonica given to him as a baby by his father to teethe on and which he's kept blowing ever since. He can imitate any sound he hears, like bacon sizzling, or express any mood he feels, like the freshness of an early morning. Yolanda understands that that's the way he "talks." She is convinced Andrew is a true genius with a great musical gift. But no one else believes it--not her mother, nor Andrew's teachers, not even wonderful Aunt Tiny in Chicago.


First, have your whiz kid tell you or write down, what is a genius?
Do they think they are a genius? Do they know any?


Next, have them take this “Could you be a musical genius?’ quiz (from


You may also want to share with them a video on musical genius Malik Kofi.


Lastly, discuss with your whiz kid why does Yolanda think her brother is a genius?
Make sure they give you passages in the book to back up their thinking!
Ask them to think about why it is such a challenge for people to see Andrew’s gift?






What will they comprehend? How to ask and answer questions about key details in a story. Identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
Read book – Carmen Learns English


The first day of school can be scary, especially when no one else speaks your language. Carmen, who speaks only Spanish, knows she must be brave. Her teacher's Spanish is muy terrible; but with a little encouragement from la Senora, Carmen teaches the class Spanish words and numbers, and she in turn learns English from her new friends.
First, ask your kindergartner if they remember when they had to learn something new (possible prompts? Tying shoes, playing soccer, letters and numbers)
Next, ask them how long did it take them to learn something new?
 Did anyone help? Did they appreciate the help?
 Discuss with your kindergartner what was Carmen’s problem in the book?
Would they have tried to help her out?
Lastly, have fun and sing along with this Sesame Street video counting in Spanish!

Here’s to Closing the Achievement Gap!


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