Middle School Reading Activities and Exercises

Although your middle school student is probably reading and analyzing complex text in school, it's critical that he or she reads for pleasure too. You can engage your child with activities that boost reading proficiency and enjoyment.

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What Are the Standard Middle School Reading Skills?

By middle school, students are expected to read longer pieces of fiction and nonfiction, including chapter books, novels, textbooks, newspaper articles, essays and more. Your child will learn to read more selectively to find specific information or skim text for the main idea. He or she will also look at reading material with a critical eye and make connections to other texts.

While these skills are crucial, it's also important to enjoy reading. If your child is not yet reading for pleasure, he or she risks falling behind in reading because, like every skill, practice makes perfect. The following activities may boost your child's comprehension and desire to read.

What Middle School Reading Activities Can I Try?

Make a Comprehension Spinner

Create an arrow spinner that has a space for such interrogative words as 'who,' 'what,' 'where,' 'when,' 'why' and 'how.' During reading time, allow your child to flick the spinner. Ask her a question about the story using the word the spinner landed on.

Run a Reader's Theater

Read short plays or scripts aloud with your child to build fluency and recognize character development. Also, look for age-appropriate monologues that he can read aloud. Costumes and props are optional, but can make the activity more entertaining. Once you've read a few plays or scripts together, challenge him to adapt his favorite fiction or nonfiction text into a script. This helps with his reading comprehension.

Connect Music and Poetry

Ask your child to share her favorite song and lyrics with you. Make a note of the rhyme scheme by looking at the last word in each line of the lyrics to see which ones rhyme. Afterward, challenge her to look for poems with the same rhyme scheme. For extra practice, she can write her own poem or song lyrics with the same rhyming pattern.

Hold an Inference Debate

Halfway through a reading assignment, hold a debate with your child that requires him to make inferences about a certain character or event in the story. All inferences should be supported with evidence from the story.

Nominate a Writer for a Literary Prize

Give your child some background on a few literary prizes and awards, such as the Nobel Prize in Literature or the National Book Award. Ask her to invent her own literary prize and write an essay nominating her favorite writer for the award. This could be a novelist, a playwright, a poet, a journalist or any other writer she admires. Challenge her to use her critical thinking skills to explain in her essay why the writer's work is worthy of attention.

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