Reading comprehension is an integral part of the middle school curriculum. It is taken under the language arts program. It aims to prepare middle school students to enhance their decoding skills. Their decoding skills help them gain success in meeting the requisites of their academic subjects.
Here are some guidelines on how you can diligently teach reading comprehension in middle school:
- Gather suitable reading materials. Prefer those that are highly interesting and engaging. See to it that your middle school students are able to “connect” with the facts and the situations contained in them. It is always safe to begin with some of the Newberry awardees. Since those works have been recognized as outstanding pieces of children’s literature, you readily entice your middle school students to appreciate them. You can also talk to them and find out about the reading materials they wish to use in class. That can conveniently solve your problem. Of course, it is wise to balance their preferences with your own suggestions.
- Use the right teaching strategies. Reading comprehension enhancement is going to demand specific skills from your middle school students. Begin each of your lessons by emphasizing the skills you intend to develop. Explain how those skills are going to help them in the process. While reading and comprehending, your middle school students should be able to use their prior knowledge, ask relevant questions, create mental pictures, make logical inferences and predictions, summarize salient points, and rely on contextual and phonological clues once they have encountered unfamiliar terms in the passages.
- Inject some vocabulary enrichment activities. Your middle school students may find it difficult to read and comprehend if their vocabulary is limited. So, include exercises that are meant to build their vocabulary skills. Those exercises should be given regularly. Keep them intensive and closely linked to your reading selections.
- Encourage discussions in class. Give your middle school students the chance to tackle the reading selections among themselves. Facilitate the exchanges and make sure everybody gets to share ideas. If your class is quite large, you may consider dividing them into small groups first. List some guide questions for them. After the small group deliberations, call some volunteers to oversee the consolidation of ideas. Give comments whenever necessary. You can also form some literature circles. You can instruct the members of those literature circles to collaborate on some projects or tasks. Assign reading selections that are consistent or complementary to your overall lesson plan.
- Introduce graphic organizers. Are your middle school students having difficulty in organizing their thoughts? Show them how to use some graphic organizers. You can let them use a story map, a story pyramid, a Venn diagram, or a KWL chart. Guide them all throughout an activity using a particular graphic organizer. Observe their progress and provide hints and tips along the way.
You may also consider reading aloud to your middle school students. You may pause every now and then to comment (or check) on their comprehension processes and levels. Raise questions and solicit answers, if needed. Share some personal insights to make the activity a lot easier to absorb and appreciate.