High School Literacy Activities

Reading and writing skills are grouped under the term literacy. Literacy is emphasized primarily in elementary schools, but all grades should continue to develop their skills.

Reading Comprehension

Literacy includes reading comprehension, or the ability to make sense of words on a page. Many aspects of life, including work, home, and family, require students to understand different types of texts.

Create a Quiz

Consider allowing students to create their own quizzes after reading a novel instead of making them take quizzes.

Preparation: Select short stories appropriate for your class


  1. Choose a short story from your approved list for each student.
  2. Make a comprehensive quiz about the story after students have read the story. A quiz should have a minimum of 10 questions and a maximum of 20. Topics such as characters, plots, and themes should be covered in the questions.
  3. Answer keys should be created once the quiz has been completed.
  4. Assign the selected stories as homework or read them together as a class. Assess each student’s understanding of the story by using the quizzes they create.

The purpose of a test is to determine how much a student has learned after studying a particular topic. A student’s ability to remember information is activated by this method. Creating a quiz will help students focus on the information that was important and how to determine whether others have acquired it as well.

Blind Date With a Villain

It is a literary trend being adopted by libraries and bookstores across the country. Readers must select a book solely based on a fake dating profile created using its content. There are no cover images, author names, or plot summaries displayed. With this trendy activity, students can focus on understanding characters and read outside their comfort zones.


  1. Identify a book that each student would recommend to a friend. If necessary, provide reading lists.
  2. Students are then asked to summarize the most villainous character from their chosen book.


  • Stock for cards
  • The markers


  1. Students should create a dating profile for the villain using the character summary. In a dating profile, students should put a positive spin on any negative traits to attract a potential mate.
  2. The completed dating profile should be written on a piece of cardstock. This new cover for the selected book may feature illustrations and creative text techniques, as long as they don’t reveal the villain’s identity.
  3. The completed book covers of all students should be placed at the front of the classroom.
  4. Choose an order and have students choose a character they would like to date. The next reading assignment will be the book they choose.

In order to find a book in his preferred genre, a student must consider all context clues.

Learning to Listen

As part of adolescent literacy, active listening skills are essential. A word’s meaning is not only understood when it is heard, but also when it is interpreted.

World Mapping

A map of the fictional world is often included in children’s stories and fantasy books. The maps can provide a fun backdrop for a unique listening activity. By interpreting their partner’s words into images, students will be challenged to hear them above all others.


  1. Using popular fantasy books such as Winnie the Pooh and Lord of the Rings, choose two to five ‘other world’ maps.
  2. Create a step-by-step script for drawing each map.


  • Paper that is blank
  • Pencils with colors


  1. Divide the class into pairs. Each pair should receive a script and a blank piece of paper and colored pencils. There is a suggestion that no two groups have the same world.
  2. The activity should be started simultaneously by all pairs. Distractions will be created as a result of this loud atmosphere.
  3. As a first step, the script reader should tell his partner the directions in the correct order. In order to create a world map, the person with the paper must listen to his partner, follow the directions, and listen carefully to his partner’s instructions.
  4. Using the same script, groups can show comparisons of their world maps once all maps are complete.
  5. Discuss how and why certain parts of the activity were challenging.

Connect Literacy and Modern Media

Teenagers today are bombarded with viral videos, social media platforms, and entertainment. Teens can be encouraged to participate in literacy lessons by incorporating these timely sources.


  1. Find funny images on the internet or in magazines and clip them. Write a genre such as romance, dystopian, science fiction, comedy, drama, or mystery on the back of the image.
  2. Each student should be given one image and a few minutes to examine it.


  1. Give students a brief speech describing their image as it relates to the genre. An image of a kitten wrestling a rabbit with the word ‘mystery’ on the back may inspire a speech about how the two animals came to fight or leave the audience wondering who won.
  2. Each student should speak for five minutes about their image in front of the class. Characters, plots, and settings must be described in the speech.
  3. Have the class guess what genre each speech belongs to after each speech.

In this activity, students will practice speaking in front of a group in a light-hearted way. The humor in the photos will help keep students relaxed as they are challenged to come up with information on the spot.

Re-Tweeted Poetry

In a micro-blogging format, Twitter is a popular social media site where people can share ideas. The limited character count of tweets challenges writers to get a point across in a concise manner.

Preparation: Assign a poem to each student. Preparation for the activity should include reading the poem to the students.


  1. Introduce the class to the guidelines for tweeting, including the 140-character maximum.
  2. The poem must first be rewritten into a single tweet that conveys the tone, mood, and point of each stanza.
  3. Students should create two hashtags to accompany the tweets once the entire poem has been rewritten as a series of tweets. You should use hashtags related to the poem’s theme, title, or author.

Analyze Song Lyrics

Earbuds and iPods have made teenagers addicted to their soundtracks. Learning about comprehension and writing can be enhanced by incorporating this love of music. Students will need to interpret the meaning behind song lyrics, especially if there is a controversial message.

The planning process can be streamlined by asking each student to submit a favorite song in advance. Approve students’ song choices after checking the lyrics for availability and appropriateness.


  1. Give each student a copy of the lyrics to the song they selected.
  2. Students should write literary analysis essays using the song they selected.
  3. Students can present their song and analysis to the class as an added learning experience.

Words and Their Meanings

Learning vocabulary involves memorizing lists and reciting them back to the teacher, which can be extremely tedious and boring. Students who have a large vocabulary can sound more professional in adult settings.

Beach Ball Vocab Lesson

Lessons that are active are more likely to attract and hold the attention of teenagers. It is best to play an active in-class game with this age group in order for them to stay on task while having fun.


  1. Create as many or as few distinct sections on a beach ball as you need using a permanent marker.
  2. Write a command dealing with each vocabulary word in each section. Examples include changing the word to an adverb, defining it, using it as part of a sentence, thinking of a rhyming word, and thinking of another word with the same root.

How to Play:

  1. Students should sit at their desks or arrange their desks in a circle before playing the game.
  2. Throw the ball to a student after writing a vocabulary word on the white board.
  3. The student should then shout the answer to the prompt that is closest to her left thumb.
  4. After the student answers correctly, the teacher should choose a new vocabulary word before the student calls out a classmate’s name and throws the ball. The ball is thrown to the next player if the student answers incorrectly.
  5. Play the game until all vocabulary words have been used or the time has run out.

Comic Strip Scene

An entire story can be told in a comic strip with very few words. In this activity, students will rewrite a scene from a play using their creativity and vocabulary.


  • A play’s scenes
  • Paper that is blank
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Using thesaurus


  1. Identify a scene from a play and assign it to each student.
  2. This scene can be used as the inspiration for a comic strip. Despite the comic strip’s purpose resembling the scene, its tone should be humorous, as that is how comic strips are typically written. Using images and only a few choice words, you should capture the essence of the scene. Aside from the names of characters and locations, no text from the scene should be copied into the comic.
  3. The comic strips will be displayed and discussed in class. How did a particular scene come across most effectively?

Connecting the Dots

In order to promote literacy, it is necessary to cover a wide range of language skills. Incorporate activities that include each of these skills into high school curriculums to help students prepare for adulthood.

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