Keeping Reading Relevant for Online Learners

Keeping reading relevant for online learners- image of student learning online

Students are learning in so many different ways! Whether they’re taking courses online or in-person, it is important for our middle schoolers to see how reading connects to their own lives. Keeping reading relevant for online learners requires connecting to other texts students have read, current events, and of course, their own personal lives! Here are some ways you can keep reading cool and relevant for young adult learners!

Connect with Current Events

Of course, you can pull out nonfiction articles from textbooks or anthologies, but why not study text features, organizational patterns, and practice finding the central idea and supporting details with high quality nonfiction articles that help your students keep up with the news? Newsela is an amazing site with news articles that connect to content areas including science, math, business, and more. You can also find news articles that relate to popular literary texts. The best part about Newsela is that you can differentiate for all learners! Change the Lexile level of the text to assign to your students. Because Newsela connects with Google Classroom, all of your students will get the support they need for reading skills through high quality text whether they’re participating in distance learning or in-person school. Newsela also has quizzes to check for understanding. The tools allow you to see student scores as well as the time they spent reading the article and taking the quiz. Not only does Newsela help keep nonfiction reading relevant; it’s also holding them accountable for mastering standards and skills.

Connect with Text Messages

How many of our students have phones in their pockets or purses? Yes, a smartphone is an accessory for many middle school students. Most of their communication is via text or social media apps. Embrace their love of social communication and use text messages to teach reading! Analyze text message with this text message reading bundle. Your students will read a variety of text messages in each of the activities. After reading, they will analyze the messages to answer questions. For example, your students may answer questions about how the people in the text conversation know one another. Making predictions, drawing conclusions, and citing evidence are all important reading skills that are relevant in everyday life! These text message resources are now available in digital format via Google Slides for your online learners!

Image of the worksheet

Connect to Reading with Writing

Of course, you want your online learners to keep reading independently at home, but how do you know if they are reading? One way you can keep reading relevant for your learners is by online journaling. Have your students respond to the texts they are reading by making comments, asking questions, making predictions, and sharing personal connections. Try some different ways to have your students journal so you can easily respond.

  • Blogging (with Google SitesBlogger, or KidBlog)
  • Google Slides: Use a template with prompts to have students respond.
  • Hyperdocs/Choice Response Sheets: Give students a variety of prompts and allow them to pick which ones they respond to on the Doc.

Journal with your students to model writing about literature for your students. For example, remind them to identify the book and name specific characters and places rather than using pronouns. In addition, show them how to make connections and comparisons to other books, their own lives, or current events. Keep reading relevant for your middle school readers! Your students will find the importance in what they read by connecting with current events, analyzing text messages, and writing about what they read. Use these tips and strategies to help reading come to life for your students while they’re learning online.