Sometimes the best way to review or practice reading skills is through video. That might sound a little counterintuitive, but when we are helping our students master reading skills it can be helpful to make connections between those skills and familiar videos. Here are my favorite videos for teaching upper elementary reading skills. These reading skill videos are age appropriate for elementary students and are perfect for both introducing and reinforcing skills.
As always, please be sure to preview these videos to make sure they are appropriate for your students before playing in a classroom.
TED Ed makes it super easy to practice main idea. One of my favorite videos that always gets my elementary students laughing is called “Why isn’t the world covered in poop?” Have students watch the informational video and identify the main idea. To challenge students, have them cite evidence from the video to support the main idea. Watch the video clip here!
Visit this post for more main idea activities.
This is one of those videos that will leave your students guessing! It’s perfect for making inferences. In Geri’s Game, an elderly man is seen playing chess against himself. Have students make an inference as to what is happening in this video. Watch the video clip here!
Here's a comprehensive post with more inference ideas.
Cause & Effect
Kitbull is a great video for many reading strategies, but my favorite way to use it is for cause and effect. There are several moments throughout the video in which one action causes another. For instance the cat is scared of the dog, so the cat scratches the dog on the nose. Have students identify at least three moments of cause and effect in the short film. Watch the video clip here!
This post is packed with more teaching tips and resources for cause and effect.
A great way to practice author’s purpose is through informational videos. TED Ed has a wide variety of informational videos that are engaging and fun for students. One that my students always find interesting is “How do animals experience pain?” After watching, have students identify the genre of the video. Then discuss which purpose is often connected to informational texts, and how we can tell the author is informing us. Watch the video clip here!
Compare & Contrast
Use a clip from the movie Inside Out to practice comparing and contrasting. Have students select two different emotions, such as anger and disgust. Have them compare and contrast how these two different emotions act on screen. The compare part may be a bit challenging, but have students think outside the box… Are they both positive or negative emotions? Do they both handle the situation poorly? Watch the video clip here!
I love using paired passages to dig deeper on comparing and contrasting, which you can learn more about in this post.
Fact & Opinion
Remember Kid President? This kindness kid went viral years ago, but the videos are still relevant today. In this particular video, Kid President is talking about making a difference in the world. The video contains several facts and opinions. Have your students try to find at least two facts and two opinions from the video. Challenge students by having them explain how they know it is a fact vs. opinion. Watch the video clip here!
You can also visit this blog post for another fact and opinion video lesson using candy!
This video is great for a quick introduction to context clues. The students will watch a short read aloud of a comic book where the word “rupture” is introduced. I like to pause before the story tells what the word rupture means to ask my students what clues they have been given. This is a great conversation starter as an introduction to a context clues mini-lesson. Watch the video clip here!
This context clues blog post has more tips.
The song and video for Lava is perfect for sequencing. Students will listen to the song and watch the accompanying video. Then they will determine which events happen in the beginning, middle, and end of the song. Help your students by providing them a beginning, middle, and end graphic organizer. Watch the video clip here!
See this post for more upper elementary sequencing ideas to take this basic skill to the next level.
I love using La Luna to talk about character traits because students have to do lots of critical thinking. In this Pixar Short, students will see three characters, but none of the characters talk! Students must use the character's body language and actions to determine their character traits. Have students draw a chart that includes a spot for the character's name along with a list of their traits. Challenge them with including evidence from the video. Watch the video clip here!
Here's a related post on using dialogue to infer character traits.
This blog post about teaching conflict features different Disney clips that help my students dive into character conflict.
Need something a little more hearty to talk about all sorts of story elements, such as setting, plot, conflict, and more? Hair Love is the perfect short. Not only is it a great story, but there are a lot of story elements to dissect with students. After watching, discuss the problem the main character is facing, how she overcomes it, the climax of the story, and more. Watch the video clip here!
Want more tips for teaching story elements? Check out this blog post.
Point of View
This TED Ed video is a little advanced, but it’s the best video I have found for POV! In the video, they explain how different points of view impact the reader and how the story is told. As you watch the video with students, pause and process what is being said. You could also upload this video to edpuzzle and periodically stop for key questions! Watch the video clip here!
This post also has more tips and video clips for teaching point of view!
In this Parts of a Plant video students will see various different diagrams. These diagrams are a great way to talk about how different text features are used to give readers information and the different text features you can find in other content areas. Watch the video clip here!
You can visit this post for more text features lessons, resources, and activities.
Piper is a Pixar Short about a bird that is scared to collect his own food. Have students watch the clip and determine several characteristics of Piper. Then have students turn this into a theme. For instance, Piper has perseverance. The theme is that perseverance is needed to accomplish goals in life. Watch the video clip here!
This is another post about teaching main idea vs. theme using song lyrics.
More Reading Skills Practice Tips
In addition to these reading skill videos, here are a few more ways we practice key reading skills in our classroom.
Use this FREE reading skills quick reference guide to help students keep track of different reading skills.
Use this free reading skills sort to review 14 key reading concepts!