10 Reading Resources Ideal for Today’s Intermediate Classroom

Complex Content and Tasks to Challenge Intermediate Students

In today’s intermediate classroom, educators need content that allows for complex text analysis and provides evidence of rigor by stretching each student from where they are to get them where they need to be. Educators also need teacher guides that embed concrete examples of rigorous reader and task opportunities within every lesson. Did you know that Reading A-Z and Raz-Plus provide an extensive collection of instructional resources designed to build 21st century skills and help you meet the challenges and complexities of teaching older students?

Here are 10 resources that you should be using in your upper elementary classrooms:

1. Close Reading Passages and Packs

Close reading requires students to analyze, evaluate, and think critically about a given text. Close Read Passages require multiple reads, each with a specific purpose supported by meaningful text-dependent questions that promote discussion. The passages allow teachers to model and practice specific close reading skills with a digestible amount of content. These passages are supplemented by Close Read Question Guides, and some are connected to Leveled Books, allowing teachers to take close reading a step further by creating cross-textual connections.

In the Close Reading Packs, students contemplate a Key Question as they read passages on a common topic, and then participate in small-group and whole-class discussions. The Close Reading Packs combine close reading skills with collaboration and communication skills, giving teachers a powerful tool to meet rigorous standards.

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2. Project-Based Learning Packs

Project-Based Learning Packs provide everything teachers need to help students develop a variety of 21st century skills, including collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Each pack includes numerous grade-appropriate resources that help students investigate a high-interest topic over multiple weeks.

Watch this video to see how one teacher uses Project-Based Learning Packs in her 3rd grade classroom.

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3. Graphic Books

If you are looking for effective ways to reach struggling or disengaged readers, explore the Graphic Books featured on Raz-Plus and Reading A-Z. Graphic Books present informational text in a visually engaging and entertaining format, exposing students to different genres and text types. The association with the Raz-Plus and Reading A-Z Nonfiction Leveled Books allows readers to make connections across texts on similar topics. Graphic Books appeal to visual learners as well as to struggling and reluctant readers.

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4. Classics

Teaching with authentic text is an important part of today's rigorous standards. The Classics collection allows students to engage with well-known titles and authors in literature. These complex texts present different perspectives with multiple layers of meaning and carefully crafted language to challenge and excite readers as they develop close reading and comprehension skills.

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5. Themed Nonfiction Series

Many state and national standards, including the Common Core State Standards, call for an increased use of informational texts in the classroom, and for the development of analytical skills using multiple texts on similar topics in order to build knowledge and compare information. The Themed Nonfiction Series includes topics like the World Leaders collection, providing fascinating biographies that are perfect for upper grades. Multiple levels of texts also make differentiated instruction easier. Each series is accompanied by:

  • Lesson Plans or Teaching Tips
  • Sets of Worksheets or Activity Cards
  • Comprehension Quizzes

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6. Content Area Reading

Maximize your reading block by including various content types, or utilize these resources to supplement a Social Studies, Science, or Art class. The Content Area Reading section includes books that focus on:

  • Art & Music
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Stories
  • Social Studies

By reading different text types on a variety of academic topics at a range of complexity, students are able to develop the fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary necessary to read and understand the concepts and content taught in today's classrooms. Our vast collection of resources provides opportunities for practicing skills expected on today’s standardized tests.

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7. Paired Books

Use Paired Books to teach readers to see connections and differences across texts. Students build perspective and comprehension as they consider multiple viewpoints on a topic or issue. Student discussion using carefully crafted text-dependent questions builds speaking and listening skills. Three question types require students to:

  • Construct an answer from evidence found in one place within a text (Level 1)
  • Gather evidence from several places within a text or texts (Level 2)
  • Use inferencing skills to construct an answer from text evidence and experience (Level 3)

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8. Multilevel Books

Multilevel Books allow teachers to maximize instruction time by using the same content to teach students at various reading levels. By being able to focus on one book during a lesson, Multilevel Books allow teachers to personalize the learning experience for students with differentiated reading abilities, making whole class instruction possible and effective. To access these books, be sure to Filter These Books by “In Multilevel Set.”

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9. Visual Devices

Being literate today means much more than being able to comprehend fiction and nonfiction text. In fact, the average adult reads the content we categorize as visual devices much more frequently than they do fiction and nonfiction books, and we need to ensure that our students are able to navigate through this world of visual text as well. Raz-Plus and Reading A-Z Visual Devices provide 17 different types of visual texts, along with the lesson plans and purposeful practice sheets that students will need to master these skills.

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10. Comprehension Skill Packs

Direct, explicit instruction and multiple opportunities for practice ensure comprehension skills become an automatic process. Comprehension Skill Packs help students become strategic, adaptable readers who can construct meaning from text.

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Try these resources with your students!

Download some free sample resources or sign up for a free 2-week trial of Raz-Plus or Reading A-Z. With the trial, you will have access to all the resources above, as well as thousands of others, including leveled books, lesson plans, activity sheets, and more!

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