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Reading Activities

A practical resource to educate and amuse.

Reading Activities by Fiona Rayns
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This blackline master activity book has been collated for use in the elementary school. The material is stimulating and humorous and easily used by the teacher and student alike. Worksheets have been designed for classroom use, as homework activities and also to aid relieving staff.

The sheets aim to complement the reading and comprehension component of the English curriculum. They provide teachers with a range of practical activities for investigating both written and visual material. Aspects of other English strands have also been included.

Worksheets are non-sequential and may be used in any order the teacher chooses. They incorporate a wide variety of texts including an advertisement, comic strip, rebus puzzle and map, plus a range of related activities.

For ease of use, most worksheets are stand-alone, while some require students to explore other familiar texts such as a television program or library book of their choice.

Most sheets are designed for students working alone, however some are suitable for small group work. Feedback between the teacher, student and other members of the class is encouraged.

Where relevant, teacher notes have been included along with references to suitable websites.

Answers have been provided in most cases, however a number of questions are open-ended, encouraging students to think laterally and form their own opinions.

Ready-Ed Publications; March 2004
58 pages; ISBN 9781863975612
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Reading Activities
Author: Fiona Rayns; Terry Allen

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble ...

Hundreds of years ago alchemists were collecting ingredients for secret potions. One of their wishes was to create a recipe to transmute (change) cheap metals such as lead and copper into gold.

They experimented with many different ingredients. Some were easily found, for example leaves, water, milk, cobwebs and beetles. Others, such as moss from ancient gravestones, quicksilver (mercury) and crocodile teeth were harder to obtain. Urine, newts’ eyes, bats’ blood and old ear wax were disgusting. ‘Vampires’ fangs, fairies’ tears and dragons’ livers* could be added for that special touch. Sometimes the alchemists would write their recipes in code to prevent others from copying them. Magical symbols and special chants were also used. The alchemists never succeeded in their quest for making gold but they did discover many techniques and new substances that modern chemists still use today.

Here is one recipe for making gold (unfortunately it didn’t work!)


  • a brain from a small dog (still warm)
  • 2 teaspoons of droppings from a pet white mouse
  • a large dollop of fresh snail slime
  • 1 pennyweight of unicorn horn (finely ground)
  • 3 yellow feathers from the crest of an eagle
  • a dozen copper coins


Beat the first 3 ingredients together. Carefully pour the mixture into a small cauldron and heat until the mixture starts to froth and bubble. Slowly add the horn, pinch by pinch, and stir clockwise twice. When the mixture begins to glow, add the feathers and the coins, one at a time. Remove from the heat and when the smoke clears you will find what you are after.


Fill in the missing word:

Many years ago, ______________ tried to ____________ cheap metals into ____________. They never managed but modern ___________ are still using some of their other discoveries today.

List two ingredients from the recipe that would be relatively easy and hard to obtain.

What is a cauldron? What does clockwise mean? What do you think you would have found once the smoke had cleared?

Concoct your own recipe for creating gold. Try to use a range of real and imaginary ingredients.