Common Core: Motivating with magazines

Apr 11, 2013
Literacy expert Elfrieda H. “Freddy” Hiebert tells us why magazine articles are a great way to motivate students to read increasingly complex texts. The president and CEO of TextProject, Hiebert will facilitate “Assessment in the Era of Common Core State Standards” at the International Reading Association conference on April 19. With the implementation of the English Language Arts Standards, students are being challenged to read increasingly complex texts across a range of themes and genres. How can you engage your students—especially reluctant readers—with rich nonfiction content? One way is through magazine articles. Here are a few reasons why: • Many young people in the U.S. simply are not reading enough to be adept with any text, much less complex text. The style and format of magazine articles invite students to read more within and across topics. • The vocabulary found in such articles is often challenging. However, since a feature article is typically shorter than a book chapter, students can more easily take on the challenge—and gain the confidence they need to tackle longer texts. • Magazine articles help kids build the background knowledge and vocabulary that are crucial to understanding many complex texts. Reading several magazine articles about the sinking of the Titanic, for example, can heighten students’ interest in what happened and give them enough context to read a chapter from Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember. • Familiarizing students with the unique structure of magazine articles, which typically include quotes, proper nouns, and statistics, are a terrific way to help students climb the staircase of complexity—and have fun at the same time. If you need resources, we’re launching a series of short magazine articles, called FYI for Kids, at on April 19. You can also check out Scholastic’s Common Core-ready classroom magazines for Grades Pre-K to 12.