It is during the middle years of schooling that most students refine their reading preferences, become sophisticated readers of informational text, and lay the groundwork for the lifelong reading habit. They begin to use reading to help answer profound questions about themselves and the world. With good instruction, ample time, and opportunity to read a variety of texts, young adolescents can become successful readers both in and out of school.
To support young adolescent learners, schools should provide
Ongoing reading instruction across the curriculum
Instruction that is appropriate for each individual student
Assessment that informs instruction
Ample opportunities to read and discuss reading with others
Because of the importance of reading and literacy, IRA and the National Middle School Association together urge classroom teachers, school administrators, policymakers, and family and community members to take action to improve the literacy performance of all middle level students. The position statement provides specific recommendations for each group.