Students often struggle with going beyond the obvious when it comes to character analysis. This skill requires students to infer information from a variety of clues, but they often get stuck on superficial detail or provide only basic analysis. A fun way to help students practice analyzing characters and developing those important skills is by using short videos clips.  (Be sure to read the “Tips for Teaching” at the end of this post for step-by-step suggestions!)   Easy-to-love short films:… Read more »

5 classic novels that middle school students will actually want to read!

What’s a “classic” piece of literature?  Mark Twain defined it as “something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” Those words might ring true when you sit down to read War and Peace  or Moby Dick, but what about middle school classics? Modern Classics in Middle School A classic includes enduring themes, relatable characters, and a compelling plot.  It’s a book that feels fresh when we read it multiple times (don’t make me confess how many times I’ve read Pride… Read more »

5 terrific historical fiction books for middle schoolers -- and how to get them to read 'em!

How do you use historical fiction? If you’re in a self-contained classroom, using historical fiction is a natural connection with your social studies content.  It is an awesome way to build background knowledge and help students make strong connections. But what about me? I don’t teach social studies.  I do know what our social studies teacher is teaching, and I try to share historical fiction titles that connect with the time period they are studying. I also use historical fiction as… Read more »

Here are 5 book series that are sure to be a hit with your middle schoolers

Hey!  Happy to see you at this week’s Summer Reading Stash!  Today we’re sharing books in a series that have memorable characters.  But the real challenge is to pick just five series!  A difficult task since there are so many wonderful series written for middle schoolers. Teachers know series are serious Series are important business when it comes to keeping middle school students reading.  Reluctant readers love them because they are easy to slip into.  Students don’t have to invest a… Read more »

How to get middle school students interested in nonfiction.

I’m excited to join in the Summer Reading Stash blog hop this week  — especially since we are talking about  using nonfiction in the intermediate and middle school classroom. We all know the issues with middle school and reading.  Weaknesses in reading skills can take a toll on student achievement as we ask and expect them to read more — both in volume and depth.  But nonfiction is so tempting, so tantalizing, so dramatic…just dare your reluctant readers not to… Read more »

I’m participating in A Dab of Glue Will Do’s “Winner Wednesday” giveaway today. I’ve chosen Reading Badges:  Use genre stickers to motivate reading  for the giveaway.   I love this product because it motivates students to read a variety of genre– and adds a bit of competition to the mix.  There are 16 badges — 4 badges celebrate reading achievements or favorite books.  Just like those Boy Scout and Girl Scout badges that encourage kids to try new things and learn new… Read more »

Book Talks Books talks are a great way to reinvigorate reading in your classroom.  Students enjoy talking about the current books they’re reading without a lot of additional folderol (ha!  I didn’t know that was a real word!). I have my students present book talks once a month.  I post a sign up sheet for two or three a day — it’s a great way to start class, get students comfortable with public speaking, and get my students new titles… Read more »