Middle School Reading: Helping your Eighth Grader Prepare for High School English

High school English courses are very different from the English class your student was used to in middle school. Help your teenager prepare for high school courses by helping them with their reading skills during their eighth grade year.

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Many students get lost in their ninth grade reading courses, creating negative repercussions for the rest of their high school, and even their college, careers. There are ways, however, for eighth grade students to help prepare themselves for the challenges presented by high school reading classes.

Reading Assessments

To start, assess your eighth grader's reading skills. This will help determine which reading skills they need to improve on before entering the ninth grade. There are many ways to accomplish a reading assessment, but one of the most effective is with an online assessment test provided by an Internet tutoring center. These assessments test students' skills in reading comprehension, literary analysis, vocabulary acquisition, and more. Children are at greater ease when taking these online assessments, because they can complete them from the comfort of their own home. Additionally, some Internet tutoring centers do not place strict time limits on children who are completing their tests. This allows them to take their time and think about which answers are correct. The result is an accurate assessment of reading skills.

Recommended Reading

Check with your child's future high school to see if there is a recommended reading list. By encouraging your child to start reading high school appropriate selections in the eighth grade and the summer before the ninth grade, you are introducing them to the level of reading they need to be prepared for. Try reading these novels together as a family. This will help you monitor your child's comprehension and other reading skills. As you read together as a family, ask them questions about the story, what they predict will happen and how it relates to your family. This will prepare them to critically examine the novels, a skill your eighth grader will need in high school to write literary essays.

When reading as a family, don't forget to read a variety of literature. Your child will be expected to know how to read and interpret all styles of writing, not just novels. Read and act out plays as a family. Plays can be difficult to read and understand, especially when a student is new to this style of reading. If you try to read a Shakespeare play, pick one that has been adapted into a movie or is currently in a local theater. Watching an interpretation of the Shakespearean play will help your student comprehend all of the plots and characters involved in the play. If this will be the first time your child has read a play, please pick a more basic story so your child gets used to the format of writing. Wait for your middle school student to adapt to the new writing style before choosing a difficult play to tackle as a family.

Improving Reading Skills

High school courses rely on the comprehension and retention of information from textbooks and other non-fiction manuals. Teach your child how to take effective notes when reading informative texts. Encourage your child to start practicing thorough note taking while still in middle school. This will help them improve their middle school grades and excel in high school. Establishing good note taking and textbook reading skills now will also help them in college.

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