Magazines Encouraging Struggling Readers #SPED #ESOL


Students who are struggling readers typically find that they are not interested in reading ‘long boring books’ that their teachers assign to them.  One way to get these struggling readers to read would be to engage them with child focused, high quality magazines.  There are many magazines that are geared for the younger readers.  The short articles with games, puzzles, and crafts can help to engage the reader to learn more about that specific topic or subject.

Some magazines that young readers will be interested in are Ranger Rick, Your Big Backyard, Zoobooks, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic for Kids, Highlights and American Girl.  These magazines should be included in a comprehensive classroom library.  During free reading, having these magazines as options can engage the struggling reader.

When these students read about a specific topic they are interested in, they can then find other books, both fiction and non-fiction, about that same or similar topic – in essence making the transition from magazine to book.  This fun reading can give them an incentive to start reading longer, more challenging books.  Magazines should not be used as a crutch, but as a spring board to broaden a child’s reading.  Many of these magazines also have different versions for different age groups of kids – babies, toddlers, and young children.  These magazines engage the kids with both entertainment and learning.

Magazine Companion Websites

All of the magazines mentioned above also have companion websites.  On these websites,students can read more about different subjects and topics covered in the magazine along with being able to play games, watch video clips, solve riddles, and complete different activities and crafts.  On their websites, you can also view past issues of the magazine or parts of current articles without subscribing.  Many sites also include teacher and parent companion materials

Currently on the Ranger Rick website, there is information about the Oil Spill in the Gulf.  This was a topic covered in this month’s magazine.  This extension provides a way for children to learn about the spill, how it is affecting the animals, and what they can do to help – but at their level.  The Your Big Backyard website has different summer activities and crafts.  On the Zoobooks website, kids can play a variety of  games along with visiting a virtual zoo, guessing different types of animals, and access to an animal directory.

The Sports Illustrated for Kids website has videos, blogs, articles, and photos of the current happenings in the sports world.  This site also has sports related online games, some of which have students learn different sports trivia in order to win the game.  The National Geographic Kids website has very similar activities on their site except the focus is on animals, people, and places.

Highlights has two different companion websites for their magazine. Highlights Kids has games, puzzles, crafts, stories, and science links. Highlights Puzzlemania contains a variety of different puzzles for kids to solve including Sudoku, story twisters, code cracking, and answering trick questions.

The American Girl website has two sections – one for shopping for American Girl dolls & accessories and one for online play.  The online play section includes activities, games, quizzes, and information about the different dolls.  Each of the different dolls has a story about them.  These stories can encourage the girl’s to learn more about that topical focus.

Overall, great kids magazines have a place in the classroom to encourage struggling readers with engaging high-quality level-appropriate stories and articles.  Subscriptions are inexpensive and should be added to your classroom wish lists for the coming school year.

-Article by Laura Ketcham

Photo from mclib

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