Reading Games for Middle School Kids

by Kyra Sheahan
Reading games make reading exercises stimulating for students.

Reading games make reading exercises stimulating for students.

Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

In middle school, 11- to 13-year-olds gain exposure to more sophisticated reading skills. They learn new and more complex vocabulary words, learn strategic reading -- or skimming -- and develop literary comprehension. An effective way for teachers to make their reading lessons more stimulating is to create reading games for the students to stay engaged. Reading games are educational, while also allowing students to apply their reading skills to a friendly and entertaining competition in class.

Character Reading

One way to practice middle schoolers' oral reading and comprehension skills is to have them take turns reading a passage in a story out loud to the class. However, this is not an ordinary read-aloud activity. To make things more interesting, tell students that they must read the passage as the main character, and the student who puts on the best performance as the protagonist of the story wins the game. Assign the passage to students the day before, and give them the evening at home to prepare. Tell students that they are allowed to bring in props or wear costumes to help with their theatrics.

Literary Scavenger Hunt

A literary scavenger hunt sends students on a hunt through assigned reading books to find the items that are on the scavenger list. The teacher provides the students with a list of passages, quotations or vocabulary words taken directly from the book's material, and then gives the list to the students. Students can work in small teams to hunt through the pages of the book to find the items on the list. Those students who paid the closest attention to the reading assignments in the book may already know where to find the information on the scavenger hunt list, which helps the team recover the items faster. The team that finishes first wins the game.

Vocabulary Bingo

Vocabulary bingo is played similarly to bingo and helps develop middle schoolers' vocabulary skills. Tailor the game to the vocabulary level that the middle school students are at. Provide the students with a list of vocabulary words, blank bingo cards and small tokens. The students randomly fill in the words from the list onto the cards. To play the game, call out the vocabulary word and each student must place a token on that word on the card. The first student to get a full vertical column yells BINGO and wins the game.

Make-a-Word Game

Put small teams of middle schoolers to the test to come up with new words, based on root words, prefixes and suffixes. This game develops student knowledge of word structure and meaning to develop comprehension, while also encouraging teams to compete to develop the best new words. Develop a word chart for students to use that contains columns of prefixes, root words and suffixes. Tell students to fill in the meaning of each, and use the word chart as a guide to developing the new words. At the end of the game, the teams share their words and define their meaning, and the class votes on the best words.

Photo Credits

  • Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images