Thursday, May 17, 2012

Reading Challenges

Motivating Middle School Students can be super challenging when teaching reading. The MS students I work with do not enjoy reading. So it helps to have things that the students enjoy reading that can spark some type of connection or a topic that they find interesting. This blog will cover three points of interest. How to know what topics students might be willing to read, where to get the various materials and what to do with the materials.

First, how to know what topics students might be willing to read. I suggest a student interest survey to find out what your particular students are about.
Questions like:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Who is your favorite music artist or band?
What is your favorite sports team or team sport?
What problem do you face?
Favorite animal or insect?
You get the idea.

Next, from the answers to these questions you can do several things to to obtain materials that might interest your students. Visit a library and check out some books. This is my least favorite idea because students my get over whelmed by books. So my suggestion is to visit Google and set up various alerts using the answers that you got on the survey. For example: If one of my answers was that a student wanted to be a marine biologist. I would set up an alert for marine biology, fish, sharks and maybe underwater life. This way I get articles sent to my in box about these topics. I can read the article and print it out for the students to read.
Another way to find articles or reading is to just do a Google search. Visit the various websites and print out excerpts from the site (bookmark the site if it is useful, you may need fresh articles in the future).

Lastly, what do you do with all of the articles? Each article can be kept in a binder by topic. So one binder for careers, one binder for sports and one for animals.You get the idea.  At the link below there is also a free work product question sheet that students can fill out and turn in after they are finished reading an article. The question sheet can be tweaked to reinforce your objectives in the classroom. This way you have lots of material and the students are practicing the reading skills that you are using in your classroom independently You are giving them a greater choice of reading materials and hopefully this motivates them to read. 

Please let me know what you think of this Freebie and if this idea helped to motivate your students. 
Thanks for reading!


  1. I was thinking... how about getting the student to setvup their own google alerts? That way, the material would get sent right to their inbox! This would also cut down on the onus on the teacher to find material that interests them (a must when you teach multiple classes like I do, with my 200 students!) and teach them a useful life/research skill at the same time!

    I think this is my first visit to your blog! Very cute!
    Mme Aiello

    1. Wow! you have a lot of students! I was thinking that if I let the students set up their own alerts they may pick topics that were not appropriate. I work in a city setting and the kids are a little fresh.

      thanks for the idea though, I do have one class that blogs they may enjoy the alerts.

  2. Clever ideas! I also struggle to convince some of my students to read.
    Diary of a Sixth Grade Teacher

  3. Thanks! Corrina glad to know I am not the only one!Deane