How to Prepare Middle School Students for the Reading, Thinking, and Problem-Solving Demands of Their Future
Improving students' reading skills can be challenging. However, I truly believe doing this can develop the reading expertise needed for becoming productive, contributing members of their community and the world. Students' success in reading and learning will show them the value of setting reasonable goals and meeting them through hard work, as well as give them the incentive to strive and achieve for the rest of their lives.
In Teaching Reading in Middle School: A Strategic Approach to Teaching Reading That Improves Comprehension and Thinking, I provide ways to support all students in your language arts and English classes, improving their reading so they develop the expertise needed to meet the reading demands in all subjects.
Below are 4 primary suggestions that can help you support all students’ reading progress:
- Teach students at their instructional reading levels. Organize strategic reading groups so you can meet students where they are and move them forward by offering them experiences that build self-confidence and self-efficacy.
- Provide students with reading and vocabulary strategies. The purpose of the reading strategy curriculum is to give students problem-solving tools that enable them to recall content, construct meaning from diverse texts, synthesize ideas across texts, and create new understandings.
- Give independent reading a prominent place in your curriculum. Becoming an independent reader, like improving in football or in playing the piano, requires practice. Encourage students to choose books they’re interested in reading—books that are easy and enjoyable, just like the materials you read for pleasure, on vacation, and in your spare time. This practice can build stamina and the ability to focus and concentrate, as well as enlarge students’ vocabularies and background knowledge.
- Use the read-aloud as a common text to model reading. Think aloud with an anchor text to make visible how you use prior knowledge and apply reading strategies to comprehend and create new understandings. In addition, students will observe you thinking about issues and exploring essential questions they’ve helped you develop to deepen their comprehension and recall of information.
By meeting middle school students where they are, offering them mental models of what good readers do, and giving them the tools for making meaning, you can support their reading progress and prepare them for an unknown future by creating reading experiences that offer them practice with: collaboration, written and oral communication, critical thinking, and tapping into their creativity. Then, students will have the ability to be the analytical thinkers and problem solvers the global world needs.
To learn more about Teaching Reading in Middle School: A Strategic Approach to Teaching Reading That Improves Comprehension and Thinking, you can purchase the book here.
About the author:
Laura Robb is a master teacher, consultant, and sought-after speaker. She taught grades 4–8 for 43 years and currently coaches grades K–10 teachers in Virginia and New York. The author of many best-selling books for teachers, she has also developed several classroom libraries for Scholastic. Learn more about Laura Robb and her work at lrobb.com.