Are you constantly searching for middle school speech and language therapy activities? Working on speech and language skills with middle school aged students can be tough but making sure that you are staying up to date on popular current event topics can help. Today, let’s talk about some different activities that can help when working on speech and language skills with middle schoolers.
Digital Current Events Materials for Middle School Speech Therapy
Keeping up with what is going on in the world is very important, especially these days. We are navigating our way through a national pandemic, virtual school and one of the biggest political years of all times. Students in middle school may hear their parents talking about these current events and may be wondering more information about them. Opening up a group lesson about a current event topic can be a great way to engage your middle school students and get them to practice their speech and language skills in a conversational setting. There are so many different websites you can use for this from YouTube to News websites with comprehension tasks already pre-made.
Here are some great websites to use with middle school students for staying up-to date on current events:
I’ve talked about this website before because I just think it’s excellent! Newsela is a site that takes regular news articles and changes the lexile level for a variety of readers. You can select the article, then pull it up on your screen. On the right side of the screen you can select a variety of lexile levels from 3rd grade up to the regular adult version.This is perfect for mixed groups.
The content at BrainPOP is very searchable and each day there is a new free video to share with students. The daily free video often relates to a topic in the news.
Sports Illustrated Kids has a website with current events articles for kids. Also on this website you’ll find updated news articles on sporting events and notable athletes. Many of the articles are written by their student reporters.
The DOGOnews website caters specifically to students and includes new articles weekly. These articles have the option for being listened to in addition to read. The articles often include infographics and videos too.
You might be familiar with the print magazine TIME or their student edition TIME for Kids. What’s great about their online resource is they give students access to free content and the ability to customize their reading experiences. Students can see articles in both English and Spanish, change the Lexile level of passages and find a ready-to-print version of the news.
Similar to the resources from TIME for Kids, Scholastic News has free content online for students related to current events and high-interest reading topics. Users can choose a grade-level and view content designed for different groups of students.
Full of popular stories, National Geographic’s website includes
articles from around the world. In addition to the news articles for kids to explore, there is also a collection of beautiful images that are perfect for close reading activities.
Printable Resources for Middle School Current Events
Language Quick Chats for Secondary are quick chats are easy low-prep middle school speech language therapy activities that can be paired with any of the websites discussed above. Language Quick Chats for Secondary is a set of 42 half sheets plus a blank build-your-own page. Each quick chat page is themed and can be used as a 5-10 minute language activity or stretched into a longer vocabulary lesson.
You could use the Quick Chats as a weekly language task for secondary students, as an early finisher assignment, or as partner work for Response to Intervention. Targeted language skills include: vocabulary, conversation skills, persuasion skills, figurative language, homophones/homonyms, prefix/suffix, critical reasoning, WH questions, and narrative skills. I like to use these Quick Chats as a guide for discussing current events for students in middle school because all of the information that I want to cover is condensed on to one page for easy lesson planning.
The topics range anywhere from laundry to coffee to travel, so you can find something that students are interested in or have a goal for discussing. These Quick Chats have also been great to use during distance learning! You can screen share or use a document camera to spark conversation regarding the topic.
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Lexie Heath says
It seems that middle schoolers have a wide range of interests, so focusing on current events is a great way to engage all students with the same topic. The amount of news we have been exposed to over the past year feels like an unprecedented level, but students need to understand what’s happening in the country and world, especially as they progress into higher grade levels.
I had never heard of Newsela before but it seems to be a great resource. Often some news sources can be dense even for adults, so an opportunity to change the lexical level is great for middle school students but could also be used with older students or adults with reading comprehension difficulties. TIME for Kids and Scholastic News seem like great resources to have on hand as well.
Language Quick Chats appear to be very useful in providing a framework to discuss what students just read about. This would be a great way to test language comprehension and gauge what each student is succeeding and struggling with when reading passages. Thank you for sharing these resources!