More than just translation

There are many other ways to show comprehension while reading than just translation. trans While reading a chapter in a novel, translation should only occur when there is a break down in communication, as Kristy Placido says.  Here is a list of other ways/activities for students to show comprehension while reading and to break up the reading routine.

  1. Reader’s Theater.  See my guest post on
  2. Drawing Pictures.  While the teacher reads a chapter to the class in the target language, the students draw scenes or a big mural (Sketch pad) while listening to the chapter.
  3. Discussion.  While the teacher reads the chapter in the target language, the teacher pauses throughout and asks questions.  After the chapter, the teacher can lead the class with a discussion of what happened.
  4. Kahoot, Quizizz, Quizlet Live, Plickers.  After the chapter, there are several great online games that can be played that allow the students to show comprehension.
  5. Lo oí.  From Martina Bex.  It keeps the students engaged with the reading and adds competition.
  6. Now What.  From Martina Bex.  A prediction activity while reading.
  7. Sound effects.  Before reading the chapter, pick out words/phrases than can have sound effects like rings, sleeps, car, etc.  Give a student a certain word and each time the teacher says it, the student does the sound effect.  Read more about sound effects.
  8. Picture Path.  Create a sheet than contains pictures of different scenes of a chapter.  While the teacher reads the chapter, the students follow along and point to the picture of the scene that is being read.  Another version: students cut out pictures of the characters and physically move the character to the different scenes during the reading.
  9. Paraphrase Freeze Frame.  The teacher types up key phrases/moments from the chapter in the target language.  After reading a chapter, students get into groups of 2 or 3.  The teacher gives a group the key moment phrase and the group freezes the action.  The other students look for that scene in the chapter and raise their hand when they find it and reads it in the TL.
  10. 4-1-1 Comprehension Check.  From Cynthia Hitz
  11. Comprehensible Clouds.  From Martina Bex on
  12. Translation kicked up a notch.  Volleyball Translation from Keith Toda.
  13. Graphic Organizer.  Have students fill out a graphic organizer while the teacher reads the chapter out loud.  You can Google search reading graphic organizers and you will find tons!
  14. Whole Class Acting.  While reading the chapter, have all students act out what is happening.
  15. Individual White Boards.  Each student draws on a little white board scenes from a chapter while the teacher reads it out loud.
  16. Poll Everywhere.  Go to and create some polls or a question platform for students to complete during the reading.
  17. Word Pause.  The teacher reads the chapter in the target language.  When the teacher pauses, the entire class says the next word out loud in English.  This is done many times during the chapter.  This can also become a competition.

These are some ways to check for comprehension other than basic translation.  CLICK HERE for a Google Doc that has other CI Reading Strategies.

What are some ways that your students show comprehension while reading?


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