Reading activities

Reading activities

The brown paper bag game

Setting – indoors

Skills developed – reading, vocabulary, confidence


  • Enough books for each member of the club to have one – choose a good selection of different types of books
  • Brown paper bags – put each book in a bag before the start of the session.

Staff – one person to supervise

At the end of a club session, put out all the books in their brown paper bags and ask each member to take one, without looking inside the bag. The pupils try out the book in their bag and then bring it back with them next time and tell the rest of the group what they thought of it.

At the beginning of the next session, collect the books in and ask pupils for their verdict. You may find you have a queue to borrow books that get enthusiastic endorsements from club members.

This is a good way of widening pupils’ reading tastes – they sometimes get stuck in a rut, going back to the same author time after time. They may be surprised to find that they can read and enjoy books that they wouldn’t usually pick for themselves.

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Jackanory story

Setting – a quiet room

Skills developed – listening skills, creativity, confidence, vocabulary, reading and writing, media


  • sound recorder and microphone
  • some examples of audio-books
  • props for making sounds

Staff – one person to supervise
Begin by listening together to some audio-books. It is good to make listening a regular part of the group’s meetings.

Now choose a story for the group to record. You could either read a popular story that already exists or ask the group to compose one themselves and write it down.

Ask for some volunteers to research what sounds will be needed to illustrate the story and to find suitable props to make the sounds.

Record the story (or parts of it).

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Desert island books

Setting – indoors

Skills developed – speaking, listening, creativity, confidence, vocabulary, reading and writing, media skills


  • paper and pens
  • book reviews
  • sound recorder and microphone

Staff – one person to supervise

Ask club members to draw up a list of the five books that they’d like to take with them to a desert island.

Choose someone to act as the interviewer – you could record some of the interviews.

Ask each member in turn to talk about their five books, saying why they like each one and why it would help them on the island.

At the end they should choose one of the five books as their favourite.

What happens?

You could use this activity to round off a breakfast book club at the end of a term or year. Club members choose which books they would take with them if they were cast away on a desert island.

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Review it!

Setting – indoors

Skills developed – creativity, writing, reading, ICT

Equipment – computer with internet access

Staff – one person to supervise

Set up a page on the school website for the breakfast book club, with the facility for pupils to post their book reviews.

Ask students to write reviews for the book club page. Let them look at examples of book reviews at, so that they’ve got a good idea of what might be in a review.

Make sure that you, or other members of staff, check reviews before they are posted.

Offer a prize for the best reviews.

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Shadowing book awards

Setting – indoors

Skills developed – creativity, writing, reading

Equipment – shortlisted books, internet access

Staff – one person to supervise

Following book awards can be a great way to add a reading activity to your breakfast club, and a great way to encourage your members to keep up to date with the best new books each year.

Get hold of the short-listed books, give them to the readers and then run discussions and activities around them.

Hold a final judging session and vote for your winner. When the ‘official’ award is announced, compare this with your results – did your members choose the same books?

You could shadow any book award. Some annual awards include:

•    January – Costa Book Awards
•    June – Orange Prize for Fiction (female, adult fiction award)
•    October – Man Booker Prize (adult fiction award)
•    November – Blue Peter Book Awards

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Reading resources

Breakfast Readers Essential Guide

Breakfast readers guide coverThis Breakfast Readers Essential Guide complements the main Breakfast Club Plus resource pack. It offers advice about setting up and running a ‘Breakfast Readers’ club, where children and their parents or carers take part in reading activities in addition to enjoying a healthy breakfast.

Download the Essential Guide to breakfast readers clubs

Breakfast Readers evaluation report

This evaluation report examines the extent to which the Breakfast Reading Pilot, managed by ContinYou between October 2005 and July 2006, met its identified aims and objectives.

Word imageDownload the Breakfast Readers evaluation report

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