Even though it’s the end of the school year, it’s worth noting literacy strategies that are new to me and that I’d like to use next school year. Here’s my plan to use three literacy strategies that are either new to me or were refreshed in my memory after reading Katherine Batchelor’s article in AMLE’s January 2017 Middle School Journal.

  • Alphaboxes
    • Next year my 8th graders will do few mini-units on relationships including friends, family and dating. To consolidate knowledge at the end of trimester 1, they’ll be able to say enough about the topic to try Alphaboxes.
  • It says but I think
    • I imagine using this activity at the end of a class story. Sometimes we get to the end of a class story, and 90% of the class approves of the outcome but a few are complaining that it’s not a great story. It says but I think would work great for explaining what’s wrong with the story (or what’s right).
  • Fact, Question, & Respond
    • After the relationships unit, the 8th graders will do a few units on global challenges (right to live with parents, right to an education, right to live in a safe place). Those units will include several informational texts, and this graphic organizer will help them relate to the text. In the first column, they will jot down facts they learned in the text. In the second column, they will get a chance to think deeper, go beyond the text and ask questions. In the third column, they get to express how they feel about the events in the text, which will hopefully help them empathize with the children they’re reading about.


Batchelor, K. E. (2017). Around the world in 80 picture books: Teaching ancient civilizations through text sets. Middle School Journal, 48(1), 13-26.