Celebrate International Literacy Day in Your Middle School Classroom

4 min read

| By Gale Staff |

September 8 is International Literacy Day—it offers a chance for people to come together to raise awareness of the importance of literacy. Founded by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1966, International Literacy Day was created to remind the public that literacy is a matter of dignity and human rights.

International Literacy Day provides an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the power of words, the advantages provided by critical thinking skills, and the joy that comes with the ability to read. Literacy directly impacts an individual’s ability to function in and contribute to the world and deserves attention this September. Use International Literacy Day to celebrate progress and plan for growth.

Meet Students Where They Are

Use a resource with engaging content in English language arts, social studies, science, and more to help meet middle school students where they are and support literacy development. Gale In Context: Middle School offers 300 topics that can be used as standalone learning tools or seamlessly incorporated into existing lesson plans. Take a look at Middle School‘s Children’s Literature topic page to see more!

The resource accommodates different learning styles, featuring a variety of nonfiction, informational texts, and formats, including books, images, audio, video, newspapers, primary sources, and more to support learning. Gale’s accessible, efficient platform provides assistive tools with text-to-speech technology, on-demand translations, and text adjustment. For researchers, search functions are supported by Lexile range, and content may also be located based on basic, intermediate, and advanced levels of complexity.

Bring International Literacy Day to Your Classroom

Part of a successful literacy celebration is exploring the many ways you can encourage student participation. We know when students experience learning through hands-on interaction, they not only retain the material more easily, but they also share that learning with friends and family.

Here are some activities to foster a connection with the concept of literacy, build literacy skills, and investigate the ways reading and writing manifest in our everyday world. 

  • Identify an Author: Hold a vote to select three favorite authors and one book written by each of them. Divide the class into groups and have them create an author’s study describing characters, setting, plot, and their emotional reactions to each story. Have your students discuss how literacy can expose people to new ideas, perspectives, and possibilities. Take a look at Middle School‘s biography on R. L. Stine for example.

  • Explore Large Print: Experiencing different tools that make literacy accessible is another way to showcase the power of reading and writing. Have students explore how large print books can make reading easier and more inclusive. Students can read a large print book, compare it with the standard edition, and evaluate its benefits for readers.
  • Write a Story: Create a round-robin story. Divide the class into three sections and assign each group a style: exposition, persuasion, or reflection. Then, define the overarching parameters: character names, location, and subject. Have each group write at least three lines in their assigned style and pass the story on. Execute at least two full rounds to ensure the story has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Learn about Literacy: Have a discussion about the importance of literacy. To help students understand the impact of literacy, ask them to brainstorm a list of tasks that are made difficult when someone cannot read. After, have students write about what they learned.

Students who feel confident in their reading and writing skills can help inspire a love of literacy in their parents, grandparents, and friends. Literacy is a superpower that almost everyone can acquire, and on September 8, you can join educators, parents, and communities across the nation to focus on accomplishing exactly that.

Looking for more support? Check out Gale in Context: Middle School to help build literacy skills with standards-aligned content written for middle school students!

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