7th Grade teacher Mike Jones shares some of his favorite teaching strategies to support reading comprehension using informational text in BrainPOP’s Related Reading feature.

In my 7th grade science classroom, it can be difficult to find topic specific, grade-appropriate informational text. Thankfully, BrainPOP can help. Next to each movie, teachers can easily access quizzes, challenges, primary sources and other activities to bring into your classroom. The frequently overlooked “Related Reading” section provides up to six fact-filled resources that teachers can use with their students to reinforce a number of skills and concepts. Over the years, I’ve used this Related Reading feature in many different ways to help students practice reading comprehension.  This year, with Common Core State Standards and my state standards accessible right from the topic page, it’s even easier to meet the demands to provide age appropriate informational text, so I’m going to use Related Readings even more!

I frequently print articles for students to practice identifying and highlighting main points.  While some would highlight just a keyword or two, others would paint the entire page (an excellent formative assessment for me to identify students who really struggle with main ideas). Thankfully, it is easier and more environmentally friendly to do this digitally. By printing these digitally to a PDF format, students can easily annotate and highlight using one of the many free PDF programs. Beyond the discussions I have always had regarding the highlighted section choices, students can now easily modify their papers.

For a jigsaw preview activity, I first place students into groups. After printing or saving each reading selection, I assign different pages to each individual in the group. Students quietly read, and highlight main points. Then, each person shares information about his/her article. Using all of the ideas presented, the group predicts what the movie will cover. I like this approach not only for the prediction and collaboration aspects, but it is easy to differentiate using different reading levels of some of the articles.

These are just two of the many methods of incorporating the Related Reading feature into your daily lessons, and I’d love to learn what you’re doing! Please add other ideas in the comment section below.

Mike Jones is a 7th grade life science teacher from Bloomington Junior High School.   He is a trainer for the annual technology conference, The Moveable Feast and has presented at several conferences, such as IETC, ICE, WEMTA, IETC, and Tech Talks.  He is also the lead trainer for his district’s 1:1 classroom deployment pilot.  Michael enjoys reading, BASE jumping, scuba diving and exaggerating about his hobbies.   He is the co-creator of several tech guides. .  .and his two children, Kat & Parker.