School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 1.0 General Reading Processes

Topic E. General Reading Comprehension

Indicator 1. Apply and refine comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and non-print texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

Objective a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socio-economic background


In preparation for providing students diverse reading selections, the teacher should inventory the classroom library to determine the bounty and deficit of different types of texts. Once the teacher knows the scope of the selections, through purchase, loan, or exchange, new selections should be added to create a balanced choice for students. To feature diversity, the teacher should create a theme week for different types of text. For example, during a given week, read-alouds would focus on socio-economic background. Once the teacher has completed the read-aloud, he/she should offer other titles addressing that diversity so that students can access many different titles related to the same subject. (Teacher Note: Once a book inventory is complete, encourage other teachers to inventory as well. Then create a book exchange where, hopefully, a surplus of certain subjects can be balanced by trades with other teachers.)


To enhance the exposure of students to a diversity of texts, the teacher should become familiar with, which is the home of the International Children’s Digital Library. This site is hosted through the University of Maryland and contains hundreds of on-line texts that represent many cultures and languages. These texts can be digitally uploaded to a classroom for large screen access by an entire class.


Prior to reading aloud, the teacher should instruct students to listen carefully and determine questions about the text, which they would like to have answered. Once the read-aloud is complete, students should be formed into small groups where, through discussion, they create questions unanswered by the read-aloud. All questions should be shared and discussed with the entire class in an effort to provide an incentive for students to pursue further reading of the text on their own.


The teacher should provide students with a list of diverse reading selections, which are categorized according to topic. Students should review, sample, and select a text for independent reading. On a given day, students should share an idea about the topic they learned from reading. The teacher should give particular care and instruction to ensure that students do not simply address plot, characters, or much of the standard material that is typically addressed in book sharing. Here the emphasis is on ideas rather than literary elements.