Developing a Definition of Reading through Investigation in Middle School

Students engage 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. Includes printable handouts and student interactives as well as detailed instructions for teaching the lesson.  Could be adapted and used at a variety of grade levels. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact...
Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.
GLE 0801.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas and supporting details of informational texts.
GLE 0801.6.2
Analyze the organizational structures of informational texts.
GLE 0801.6.3
Read, interpret, and analyze text features that support informational texts.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • analyze a variety of texts for audience, purpose, and strategies they might use to read them. 
  • develop and continue to refine a definition of reading. 
  • create and share a Reader's Profile that summarizes their habits and attitudes toward reading.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 


  • Keep the Reading Survey Handout and the completed Reader’s Profile for each student and have the class do them again at the end of the year. Students can then compare how they have grown and changed in their thoughts on reading over the course of the school year.
  • Students can group the texts used for investigation in class and discuss the different groups that they identify. These groups might include the following distinctions: non-fiction and fiction, varying reading levels, pictures and no pictures. This can allow for extended talk on the variety that literature within a certain format or genre can take. Students can also categorize texts according to the strategies needed to successfully read them.
  • Because of the wide variety of reading discussed here, you may wish to limit the discussion to Web-based reading, focusing on how the act of reading is different in a digital context. 
  • After reviewing their profiles, ask students to write three goals for themselves, focusing on the processes they feel need the most work and/or will be the most beneficial to them.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • One note card for each student
  • Paper, pens
  • A variety of texts for analysis and investigation