5 Golden Rules for Investing Middle School Students in Reading

Reading is frustrating when it isn't an innate skill for students.
Reading is frustrating when it isn’t an innate skill for students.

Jake doesn’t like reading. He doesn’t enjoy reading non-fiction, which is what we read because it makes up most of the Common Core aligned assessments. He is in 7th grade, but struggles to decode words and comprehend the key points of a text. He also struggles with written communication; he has trouble stringing together coherent thoughts, most of his words are spelled incorrectly, and he rarely uses punctuation. 

As a teacher, which of these challenges would you work with Jake on? And how would you help him with 30 other students in the room?

What of these reading weaknesses was the greatest challenge Jake faced? What if he had an emotional and physical meltdown whenever he felt frustrated? What if his background included numerous foster homes and he didn’t know how to handle challenge without shutting down?

Jake (name changed) was a student I invested the most support in. There was more content that needed to be remediated than I could’ve done in a year with one-on-one teaching. Yet, I also knew that he wouldn’t be receptive in learning anything until he knew I cared about him and truly believed that becoming an effective reader was crucial to his success.

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World Religions Persuasive Writing Unit Plan

Persuasive Essay Unit Plan on Writing a 5-Paragraph Essay on World Religions

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This Unit Plan details the process of writing a persuasive essay about world religions. The goal of this unit is to align writing content with social studies world religions content with the end goal of writing a 5-paragraph essay about a religious controversy. This is a three-week unit that heavily emphasizes research skills. Students spend the first week researching, understanding their topics, analyzing the reliability of sources, and learning about paraphrasing/ plagiarism. Students spend the second week drafting their essays. The third week is spent revising the essay. By the end of the unit, students should be comfortable with the idea of making claims, supporting their claims with reasons and evidence, and ultimately drafting an essay. This unit can be used with 7th graders at any level. The two topic choices differ in complexity.

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