Inspiring Middle School Literacy

Expand/Collapse Inspiring Middle School Literacy


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For further help with registering your students, contact midlit@wgbh.org.


These online self-paced lessons for blended learning, funded by the Walmart Foundation, are designed to enhance the literacy skills of struggling readers in grades 5–8.  Each uses videos, interactive activities, note taking, reading, and writing to present students with an engaging science, social studies, mathematics, or English language arts topic.


Each lesson addresses a range of literacy strategies, which are listed in the accompanying teacher's guide.

  • Character Change: The Diary of Anne Frank

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    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students examine what Anne Frank’s writing and a video dramatization of her diary reveal about her character and how it changed while she was in hiding. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore an English language arts focus on character change. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Character Conflict: Language Immersion

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    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students watch videos that tell the story of Moises, a fictional Spanish-speaking young immigrant who faces conflicts in his English-immersion school in the United States. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore an English language arts focus on internal and external conflict as a plot device. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Fact and Opinion: Parents, Teens, and Texting

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    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students watch videos by and about teens for whom texting is a part of daily life. They then evaluate statistics about texting and use those facts to form an opinion about texting, such as whether parents are justified in reading their teens’ texts. Students develop their literacy skills through an English language arts focus on evaluating and interpreting facts to form an opinion. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Symbolism: Keely's Mountain

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    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students are introduced to Keely, who feels that her identity as a Nipmuc Native American is weakened because there is no strong Nipmuc community around her. The video Keely made when she was young and felt discouraged is countered by her positive thoughts about identity when she is older. Students develop their literacy skills through an English language arts focus on symbolism. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Personification: Cowbirds

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    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about the cowbird through a documentary video and explore how the video uses personification to present information about this bird. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore an English language arts focus on personification as a literary device. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Understanding Character: The Life of Percy Julian

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" below to find out more.

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students watch video dramatizations of Percy Julian's struggles with racism and how he refused to let it limit his possibilities in life. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore an English language arts focus on understanding character. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.

    Grades: 5-8

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