4 Great Ways for Middle School Students to Practice the Reading Standards


FOUR great ways for Middle School students to practice USING their reading skills to analyze text!

My Middle School Students have a way of looking like they understand something, can even verbally tell me what something like the theme of a text is (definition wise), but then struggle to pull it out of a text.

So, I set out to 

1. Deconstruct the standards (the first 8 reading anchor standards)

2.  Create a systematic way to teach the steps of using a reading skill like central idea or theme

And now I want to share four ways I have provided some practice:

1.  Two-Choice Menus

These menus offer students 2 choices as a way to practice using the standard. I offer choices like completing a kind of graphic organizer, writing a paragraph, completing a sorting activity, or creating something like a flipbook or anchor chart as a reference.

Why TWO choices?

1.  To provide students an opportunity to take some control over how they learn.  This is highly engaging to students. Why?  Well, think of it from your perspective.  You are much more motivated to attend the PD you choose to attend than the PD you have to attend (after school, in the media center/cafeteria, with people telling you things you already know).

2.  To provide some structured project-based learning.

With 2 choices, I can ensure that students can not only get started but complete an activity in one class period because I will be better able to facilitate and get to all the students in that environment.

3.  To provide differentiation.

Differentiation is providing multiple ways to reach the same standard.  I might even tweak a choice to suit a student on the fly to help him/her get what is needed.

2.  Digital Practice Game

However, if you are teaching in a digital environment, you may find the project-based learning menus too cumbersome.  In that case, I would recommend something like a digital game.  I have created one for each of the first 8 reading anchor standards:

3.  Remediation Practice

Sometimes, even after this careful practice time, students need even more practice based on their quiz results.  Now it's time for remediation.  I offer another menu of 2 choices that are both focused on review.  One has students review the quiz against their notes and one has them reviewing the content with a special video.  Or I have these students play a digital escape room game to review critical content.

This text-based digital escape game gets middle school students practicing with using central idea to analyze text!

4.  Enrichment Practice

What do the other students do during that remediation time?  They are given an enrichment menu to allow them to create something new based on the standard.  In a digital environment, I'd ask these students to make a video to teach someone else the critical content for the standard.  They can use PowerPoint, iMovie and many other apps that they already have on their phones.  

Practice is a key part of learning and to truly "get" the standards, students need to do something themselves or even with a partner to experience using the skills.  It's not enough to just know what theme is, student needs to be able to use that skill.

Want to try out my printable Theme Unit that uses these practice ideas?  It's FREE in my Resource Library:

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Middle School Students needs time to process and practice what they have learned.  Use one or all of these ways to provide standards-based reading practice in your classroom!

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