How to Excite Middle School Students into Becoming Readers

Middle school students are often tough to motivate. There is something about becoming a teenager with all of the hormones kicking in that makes them want to rebel a bit. However, as educators, it is up to us to inspire these students and encourage them to want to learn. 

Reading in Middle School

During these middle school years, fifth grade to eighth grade, sometimes books can take a backseat to other things in their lives. The issue with this is that reading is needed not just for all subject areas, but to promote individual growth. Through reading, these students will find role models that will ignite their enthusiasm for the rest of their lives. 

Reading Strategies for Middle School

First thing first, if students are not interested in reading because they are struggling with fluency and comprehension, there are strategies you can incorporate in the classroom to help make their weaknesses into strengths. Then just perhaps they will carry these strategies with them throughout their lives. 

  • Re-read to improve fluency and comprehension. For example, even as adults, if we are struggling with understanding directions of some sort, we always re-read it over and over, sometimes aloud, to help with our own comprehension.
  • Make connections to improve comprehension. Whether it is fiction or nonfiction text, if you can connect it to their lives, they will understand it better. 
  • Figure out the main idea of the text to assist with summarization. If a student can determine what is the text about, they will be able to summarize the material much better. 

Popular Middle School Books to Read

There are countless middle school books that students will love to read. All they have to do is be introduced to them! As educators, it is up to us to pair our students up with the books we know they will enjoy. And don’t worry about whether these books can be addressed through lesson plans. Sometimes it is just enough to know the students enjoy the books!

  • Hatchet
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Harry Potter
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • Hunger Games
  • Tuck Everlasting
  • Star Girl
  • The Maze Runner
  • Where the Red Fern Grows

Use Technology

There are those of us that no matter how many tablets and computer devices there are on the market, nothing beats reading a real book that you can hold with your own hands. There is something about the smell of a book and the feeling of the paper that does it for us. 

Most kids nowadays do not have that romanticized attachment to books. They even might prefer to read on tablets. There are reading websites for middle school students that offer plenty of books for them to read. All they have to do is quickly download a book in a few seconds and they are ready for reading. 

In fact, LightSail is a comprehensive literacy platform that literally has thousands of books available for students of all ages. Plus, there are Lexile assessments for students to take right after to gauge their understanding of the text. 

Know Your Students

As you get to know each individual student, you will realize what topics get them excited. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Pair up your students with the right books and you will no longer need to twist any arms to get them to read any longer! They will have a hard time putting down the books if you can find the right ones for them. 

Insights for your ELA Classroom

We've gathered information on the topics educators ask us about most often. Each post is written to be insightful, practical and most of all, based on what we know works from our experiences with tens of thousands of classrooms across the country.

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