Reading Warm-Up Activities for Middle School

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Use these team activities to get your middle school students warmed up and ready to read. Each activity includes a detailed description and list of materials to help you easily implement the ideas in your classroom environment.

Middle School Reading Warmup Activities

Middle school students may not be thrilled with the idea of a reading warmup that requires passage analysis or comprehension questions. Instead, try using these activities that get students ready for the more challenging reading activities of the day. Each activity is designed to be used with teams of students. The activities also have independent exercises to wrap up the activity and help students reflect on their learning.

Headline Hunt

  • Materials: local newspapers or student magazines, graphic organizer, scissors and glue (optional extension).

In this activity, students will predict the content of various articles based only on their headline. For the content of this activity, you may want to use local newspapers or a student-focused magazine available for school subscription.

  1. Group students into teams of 4 and provide each team with one newspaper or magazine.
  2. Assign roles to students:
    1. The announcer reads the headline.
    2. The scribe writes the headline on the organizer.
    3. The storyteller predicts what the article is about.
    4. The summarizer skims the article and provides an overview of the actual content.
  3. Ideally, each teammate completes each role one time before the conclusion of the activity. When time is limited, you may want to conduct this activity four days in a row, with roles switching each day.
  4. After each round, students should work together to write a short summary of the storyteller's prediction and the summarizer's overview.
  5. As an independent wrap up, students can write a short paragraph about how both the storyteller's prediction and the headline reflect the article's content.

Lyrical Lessons

  • Materials: song lyrics (split into verses and chorus), graphic organizer.

In this activity, students will find the underlying message of song lyrics. Before the activity, find song lyrics that are on-level for your students. Split the song lyrics by separating each verse and the chorus.

  1. Provide each student team with the lyrics to one verse of the song and a graphic organizer for summarizing the lines. If students need additional support, work together to identify the message of the song's chorus.
  2. Ask students to identify the meaning of the verse and summarize it by filling in the graphic organizer. Based on your student population, you may want them to summarize verbally, in writing, or in an illustration. Additionally, you may want them to summarize each line, a group of lines, or the entire verse.
  3. After summary graphic organizers have been completed, ask students to share the meaning of their assigned lyrics. Conduct this portion of the activity in the order of the song and record their conclusions so that all students can view them, if possible.
  4. Discuss how they came to their conclusions, what context clues they used, and if the song's meaning is clearer when viewed as a whole.
  5. As an independent wrap up, have students write down the most meaningful part of the lyrics or apply a portion of them to their own lives.

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