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Developing a Definition of Reading through Investigation in Middle School
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Five 50-minute sessions|
Students engage in a hands-on, collaborative investigation of the definition of reading by participating in small group brainstorming sessions and an analysis of a variety of texts and the strategies they need to read them. Students also create individual Reader’s Profiles with an online tool modeled on social networking sites. Sharing these profiles and reflecting on their own learning, students ultimately develop a working definition of reading which they refine during the year.
Profile Publisher: Using this online tool, students create a profile for themselves or a fictional character, in the style of a social networking Website profile.
In A Middle Mosaic: A Celebration of Reading, Writing, and Reflective Practice at the Middle Level, chapter authors Jeffrey Wilhelm and Cathy Fleischer indicate the value in making adolescent learners aware of literacy practices and their attitudes toward those practices. Wilhelm contends that if teachers "want students to know how to pursue and successfully complete specific kinds of reading tasks, then [they] need to make the general and task-specific processes of reading visible" (7).
Fleischer engages students in assignments that engage them in the very definition of reading and literacy, asking them to explore "what they believe constitutes knowledge, what they believe about how people learn to read and write, [and] what understandings and even values they hold about their own education" (69). Asking students to develop a collaborative definition of reading and then focusing on an individual reading profile will start the rich conversations and teachable moments about the purposes and processes involved in reading.
Close, Elizabeth, and Katherine D. Ramsey, eds. 2000. A Middle Mosaic: A Celebration of Reading, Writing, and Reflective Practice at the Middle Level. Urbana, IL: NCTE.