To encourage her seventh graders’ reading, Katie Durkin finds herself constantly searching for new ways to keep books in the hands of students. She shares four sustainable practices she uses throughout the school year to plant the seeds of reading with her students.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, middle grades teacher Kasey Short offers a list of nonfiction and fiction books representing a wide range of girl’s and women’s voices and experiences. All students benefit from reading about smart, brave women who make positive impacts.
Jason DeHart knows the unique characteristics of visual literature can grab kids’ attention. He shares ideas from his research and middle school teaching experience about using comics and graphic novels in the classroom – and includes lots of winning titles for grades 4-8.
For five years Marilyn Pryle has begun every class with 10 minutes of choice reading, inside a Book Club model. Would in work in a hybrid classroom? Yes! Her experience this year “reinforces the truths I already know.” Students want to read. Escaping into a story feels good.
Borrowing books from class and school libraries is less common during the pandemic. Kathie Palmieri encourages her students to read using a Bitmoji Virtual Classroom Library, Virtual Book Tasting Rooms, Flipgrid, and Mentimeter. How-to tips and book sources included!
Kids in the middle need independent reading time too, writes author Lynne Dorfman. Time to read a book they have chosen, time to practice skills and strategies, time to talk about books and reading with their teacher and friends. Time to be immersed in the joy of reading.
This fall Katie Durkin’s middle schoolers developed a voluntary reading plan using a design thinking process. After modeling her own reading goals, she had students generate and pursue ‘prototype’ goals that helped them expand choice and voice in their reading practices.
As teachers and students are tossed by the currents of Covid-19, Katie Durkin plans to anchor and then expand her 7th graders’ views of themselves as readers by puzzling out a reading identity, reflecting and planning for the horizon, and charting a path forward.
When it’s time to analyze a fiction or nonfiction text, don’t let students coast through the lesson by simply filling in a graphic organizer. Author and teaching coach Sunday Cummins has ideas that will help learners think about text structures conceptually and flexibly.
To motivate students to embrace independent reading, Kasey Short recommends we help them find the right books, use authentic assignments for accountability, and provide the time to read – all to help build a classroom climate where reading is valued, enjoyed and celebrated.