How to use the reading comprehension warmups
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How to Use Reading Comprehension Warm-Ups

Today, I’d like to share how you can use the new reading comprehension warm-ups to build stronger readers and writers, and that’s what it’s really all about!

In this post, you will read two samples scenarios showing how to use, and you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the new reading comprehension warm-ups:

  • How do I use spiral warm-ups?
  • What will the warm-ups focus on?
  • Are they aligned with the Common Core State Standards? TEKS?
  • How can you make the warm-ups fun?
  • What levels will the warm-ups be?
  • Are they available in Spanish?
  • How are they skills scaffolded for Special Education?

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Continue explore our reading comprehension warm-ups with the video below.

How to Use Reading Comprehension Warm-Ups?

The easiest answer is to start with our grade level suggested sequence and press play. It’s really that simple. And here’s an example scenario where a teacher successfully plans her own sequence.

Target Low Skills

In her last unit, 4th-grade teacher Ms. Aguirre taught students how to summarize literary nonfiction and informational text. They already knew how to summarize fiction, but they seem to struggle with finding the main idea.

Literal Questions for Scaffolding

She decides to spend the next two weeks for relearning main idea in her warm-ups. She decides to spend one week in the literal warm-ups for stated main ideas. She selects spiral review #11-15 because they are at 90wpm and have a fun activity, Info Investigator.

Recap and Spiral Review

Each day in class she spends 30 seconds recapping why a main idea is important or asking students to do the same. Then she plays the warm-ups (in this case, they are videos 3-4 minutes in length).

During the Video Warm-Ups?

The videos are self-checking and interactive – so students are talking and writing during the video. She roves the room monitoring student work and making mental notes of who may need a little one-on-one assistance in tomorrow’s warm-up.

Inferences for Deep Reading Comprehension

In the next week, she ups the ante and selects the more challenging inferring main idea warm-ups. She knows her students are ready for this practice because last week, they were almost all successful on the literal main idea warm-ups.

She chooses spiral reviews #21-25 because they are more challenging Lexiles and they spiral three different genres. The activity is a straight-forward task card that she projects. Each day there are two task cards.

Using the Task Card Warm-Ups

For the first card, she lets the students work in groups. Students are all successful from the peer support, but she takes this support away one the second task and has students work independently.

Each card is only 90 seconds in length, plus a brief explanation after. The entire warm-up takes less than 5 minutes, and by the end of the week, students have consistently worked on inferring main idea across three different genres.

After her two weeks of warm-ups, Ms. Aguirre’s students increased their fluency with main idea questions, and she’s ready to move to a different skill in her warm-ups.

It really is as simple as choose and press play. No-prep comprehension warmups! #teaching #elachat

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FAQ from 138 Reading Teachers

What Skills are Targeted in Reading Comprehension Warm-Ups? We asked teachers what they need to create our comprehension activities.

In our survey (2018), 138 teachers overwhelmingly stated two skills/strands that need to be addressed:

  1. Ideas and Details
  2. Making Inferences

The majority of warm-ups focus on these two strands, which both teach students to think with the text.

Also embedded throughout the warm-ups will be fluency, context, and questioning, which teach students to think within the text.

What will the new reading warm-ups focus on?

Results from Teacher Survey, 2018,

Are they Aligned to Common Core? TEKS? State Standards?

Yes, yes, and yes. The warm-ups align with essential reading skills and Lexile levels, so they do align with all standards. To help further with alignment, they are organized in two ways:

  • By common core strand (which also align with the new TEKS for 2018-19).
  • Suggested warm-ups sequence for each grade level that combines word study and reading comprehension warm-ups.

How Can You Make the Reading Warm-Ups Fun?

The reading comprehension warm-ups focus on authentic literacy engagement – listening, timed reading, watching, talking, and writing. As far as the fun is concerned…

“Fun” depends on the class culture you’ve developed. If your class focuses on grades, punishment, or rewards, it’s okay to know that these warm-ups may not be for your students.

If your class focuses on learning, collaboration, and the satisfaction of growth, the students love the activities because they aren’t sit and get or just another worksheet!

Here’s why students love a few of the reading activities:

  1. Word Racer and Fluency Builder because they have to read before the text disappears.
  2. Whisper Reader and Synonym Whisperer because of the peer interaction.
  3. Fiction Finder and Info Investigator because of the animation, the scaffolding, and how “easy” they think it is…but that’s only because they are successful!
How to use Reading Comprehension Spiral Warm-Ups

What are the levels of Reading Comprehension Warm-Ups?

In 2nd-grade, the comprehension warm-ups will be very challenging and highly appropriate for building fluency, literal comprehension. Also, the word study warm-ups will create a solid foundation of decoding and spelling skills.

Grades 3-6. The majority of our initial reading warm-ups will address skills in upper elementary and lower middle school. The warm-ups are spiral review and shouldn’t be used to teach on-level new skills. They spiral skills already taught, so students can build fluency and deepen mastery of those skills.

Grades 7-8. For many in grades 7-8, the warm-ups will be used for reading intervention classes, English learners, or students with learning disabilities, and small-group stations.

Reading Warm-Up Activities

Teacher Survey Results, What Levels are Needed, 2018,

Are the Reading Warm-Ups in Spanish?

They are not, at this time. However, we’ve been approached by several Spanish author-consultants about making this a reality.

How are they Scaffolded for Special Education?

Many of the warm-ups ask questions, give a chance to answer, then provide embedded scaffolding (such as highlighted words), and another chance to answer before seeing the correct response.

There are two types of questions in the warm-ups: literal questions and inferential thinking. We recommend doing a preteaching warm-up (such as for flipped homework or in stations the week before) using the literal questions before the inferential thinking with the same skill. Here’s an example.

A 6th-grade reading teacher wants to spiral a review for inferring the main idea next week because she taught a few weeks ago, and now the students need additional exposure.

She puts a set of literal question warm-ups for main idea in a computer station this week and ensures her struggling readers make it to that station for 3-6 minutes each day.

Next week, when she does the whole-class inferential warm-up for main idea, her struggling readers have reinforced the prerequisite skills, so they can be successful.

When are they Available?

Our reading comprehension warm-ups launched on January 7, 2017. They are revised each summer and upgraded to match new student and teacher needs.

What will they cost?

We essentially gave away the membership to all of our early adopters – those who’ve been with us in the Fall of 2017. They received a special email on January 7th with a discount code for $1.00 per month. Let me repeat that…

$1 per month.

Like I’ve said previously, we like to keep things simple!

Membership pricing has slowly increased since then as the warm-ups are enhanced, the website speed is improved, and as we add new features. View current membership options by clicking below:

Explore Current Membership Options

Pricing is updated each summer as new warm-ups and upgrades are added. Your membership price gets locked in when you join.


Thanks for taking the time to read. So what’s on your mind about the reading comprehension warm-ups? What are you thinking? Comment below and we’ll stay in touch with your questions or suggestions!

Use the share buttons below to send this to a friend or pass this article along to your principal.





9 responses to “How to Use Reading Comprehension Warm-Ups”

  1. Steph

    I can’t wait!

    1. Erica H

      Thanks, Steph. I saw that you joined today. Please let us know if you need any support!

  2. Alicia

    I’ve followed on facebook, and I’m looking forward to the reading warm-ups. Thanks!

    1. Erica H

      Thanks for the follow, Alicia. I appreciate your feedback.


    I am confused how to access different reading levels. I am an interventionist and work with 3rd – 5th. At this point would all 3 grade levels use the same warm-ups?
    I have locked in the $1 early bird special – Thank You!!!!

    1. Erica H

      Welcome to the Early Bird! Yes – but you can target warm-ups for grade-level skills (i.e. 3rd-grade will need to start in Fluency 1, but 5th-grade will probably do better to start at Spelling 1 Advanced…unless it’s intervention).
      There’s a new feature in your member dashboard…it’s a suggested sequence for grades 2-3 and grades 4-5. With so many warm-ups coming out this week, we definitely will continue to organize them for you…let us know if the sequences help. Thanks!

  4. […] Click Reading Comprehension Warm-Ups to see for yourself. […]


    I am an confused as well. Can you assign individual stuents or do they just work on the warms-ups (which I purchased) as a partners. I am an internventionist who sees 3rd-4th grade students. Thank you

    1. Erica H

      Thanks for joining! The word study and comprehension warm-ups are going to be perfect for grades 3-4 intervention.

      The simplest way to use the warm-ups is to project to a whole-group.
      >>Also, we’ve brainstormed 8 other ways to use the warm-ups:
      >>Here’s a video that will walk you through exactly how:
      >>You might enjoy other tutorials here:

      As a spiral warm-up, they are designed to review skills you’ve previously taught. They can work as first-teach, but really, nothing replaces you as the first-teach.

      You can sit a small group at a single computer or, most commonly, use a projector to show the warm-up video or task card to the whole group. At this time, we don’t offer individual student accounts.

      Do you have a projector for your class?
      Are you in a one-to-one tech setting?
      Let me know, and I can walk you through any particulars. Thanks again.

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