Year 7 and Year 8 Literacy

An Article Discussion Exercise

Years 7 and 8 are a fun age when students enjoy a good discussion.

You can run and article discussion exercise with reading material from other subjects, high-interest topics, current events, or any reading material. What they read doesn't really matter. The important thing for article selection is that it generates discussion and unusual or interesting words.

The following programme was run over four days, taking just 15 minutes a day.

  1. Copy the reading material so every student has their own copy. Buddy-up poor readers with good ones if you need to.

  2. Discuss the article and any interesting words (Challenge Words – usually around 7 words). Discuss possible meanings.

  3. Have everyone turn over the article. Students should have a go at spelling each of the spelling words. Get them to repeat the word verbally, then write it down while saying it aloud in syllables. They then reread the word and self-correct it if they want to alter their ‘try’.

  4. When the correct spelling is shown, students should tick the parts of the words they got right. They learn the correct spelling ‘on the spot’. Retesting their errors over the next few days will put the word from their short-term memory into their long-term memory.

  5. Isolate the patterns in each of the words that is causing them problems. Use the Index of Sounds reference card to find them in the Reading and Spelling Made Simple books. Or use their own knowledge to think of other words that contain the same spelling pattern. Make a list of these words in a ‘Word Families’ notebook. This list should be added to as other words are found with the same pattern.

  6. Find the meanings of the 'Challenge Words' in the dictionary. Find out the root words, parts of speech, etc for each of these words.

Written Expression

Next, have your students explore the concept with written expression. You can allow or encourage different writing styles. For example, see below:

The article chosen concerned a man who became enraged over feral cats digging in his garden. He caught his neighbour’s cat in a cage. Then he took it to the local animal shelter, pretending not to know who it belonged to. The police were called by his neighbour. The suggestions for writing were: police report, neighbour’s altercation, the cat’s report about this.