Middle school is a crucial time to engage your child in learning. It is often during these years that children are either ignited by or turned off to school. If your child struggles to learn, problem solve together and get a plan in place to allow success (and confidence!) to build. Support your child outside of school and find ways to extend or enhance what he’s doing at school.
- National Geographic Extreme is a magazine to engage and motivate even reluctant readers.
- Great site to work on nonfiction learning.
- David Adler’s picture book biography series is excellent.
Choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) stories: To help make reading exciting, introduce your child to CYOA books. There are books with many levels (e.g., The Haunted House vs The Abominable Snowman, both by RA Montgomery). Or try out a graphic novel CYOA like Meanwhile by Jason Shina for more visual learners (and those wanting less text). Some fun online variations:
- Westward Trail: A game as much as as story!
- Narratavius Story Engine: Interactive fiction and text adventures CYOA app.
- Caves of Mull: Death, destruction, and treasure!
- Center of the Cell: CYOA about a flu epidemic in London.
- A. Pintura, Art Detective: The case of grandpa’s painting.
- Closed Captions: Have a child who would rather watch TV than read? Let them! But turn off the sound and turn on the captions!
- Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series: short, interesting, funny, engaging. Everything your reluctant reader could wish for. Try out this series and see if you don’t catch her reading!
- Monitoring reading comprehension strategies:
- Guys Read: Web-based literacy program to get and keep boys reading.
- BBC Bitesize KS2
- 60Second Recap: Lets you grasp the essence of great works of literature in an accessible way, to supplement your reading.
- Opposite Ocean: Work on opposites with various levels of difficulty.
- Homophone games and other grammar activities.
- Charlotte’s Web
- Build a city of the future by classifying words in a series, using context cues.
- Build corrals for cows by answering questions using context cues.
- Tikatok: Online publishing program that will walk your child through story creation to story completion. Lots of support for reluctant writers, but infinite creative possibilities as well. Free to publish online, but adding sound or purchasing a hard copy is fee-based.
Online comics/jokes/riddles to get your child reading and thinking!:
- Lost Side of Suburbia by Kory Merritt
- Silent Kimble by Ryan Sias: Ask your child about the play on language, or to make some of her own!
- On the Rocks by Tyler Martin
- Not so hard riddles
- Hard Riddles
Metacognition practice: Learning to use thinking tools and inference is a vital skill at this age. Struggling learners often have difficulty evaluating their strategies or thinking about their thinking (metacognition). One way to practice this is with cloze activities (deleted words from a passage that the reader fills in by drawing on their knowledge of context and grammar). They have to use context cues, schema, inference (all thinking tools) to fill in the blanks that the passage makes sense. Having your child explain her choice is another metacognitive task. With Learn Click, you can create cloze activities easily for your child. There are examples on the site, so begin there. Once your child gets more skilled, have her create them for you!