Fostering a passion for reading is one of the best ways to help middle school students improve their reading skills. If reading is seen as boring or as a chore, then students are unlikely to be motivated to read. This is where reading games can be particularly useful!
Just like younger learners, middle school students learn best when they are interested and having fun. So, if you’re looking for ways to make reading more fun for your students, check out these seven fun reading games for middle school students.
Fun Reading Games For Middle School Students
1. Jump and Read
This first reading game is a great way to get your middle school students warmed up and ready for class. First, write a sentence on the board. The longer the sentence, the harder the game will be.
Next, instruct students that they are all on the same team and that their challenge is to read the sentence on the board one word at a time. However, the rules are that only one student at a time is allowed to read, and the student reading the word must jump up from their seat as they read it. Any student can choose to jump up and read a word at any time, but if two students jump up at the same time, they lose.
So, here’s how a game would play out. The teacher would say “go” and then one student would jump up and read the first word. Then, another student would jump up and read the second word. And so on. If at any point two students jump up at the same time, then they lose and must start again. If they manage to get to the end of the sentence, they win. Change the sentence and start again.
2. Reading Race
For this reading game, you’ll need a long passage. This can be from a book you are reading as a class, from a newspaper/magazine, or you can simply create your own passage.
Display the text on the board/screen and tell students that they will take turns reading the passage. Next, show students the order in which they will take turns reading. When it’s their turn, a student must choose whether to read one word, two words, or a maximum of three words. The student who reads the last word in the passage loses and must do a forfeit. The forfeit can be that they must do a silly dance, do five-star jumps, high-five the teacher, etc.
This activity is a great way to get students to focus on the text while having fun at the same time. The best part about this game is that it requires no prep and can be played at any time during your reading lesson. So, if you notice your students are losing focus or need something to wake them up, why not try the reading race game?
3. The Jigsaw Game
For this game, students will be in small groups of 3/4. Before the class, you’ll need to prepare a set of ‘jigsaw’ pieces for each group. These jigsaw pieces are strips of paper with different sentences on them, which together make up a whole passage or short story. Give one set to each group and ask them to place the strips of paper face down and mix them up. Now the game can begin.
Choose one student from each group to come to the front of the class and show them the completed passage/story. Students must read and try to remember as much of the text as possible and then go back to their group and tell them the passage/story. The other members of the group must then try to put the sentences in the correct order to complete the passage. If at anytime the student can’t remember what’s next, they can return to the teacher to look at the passage again. The first team to place all the sentences in the correct order is the winner.
4. Sleeping Beauties
This next reading game is another group activity that middle school students love to play! Before the game, prepare 5-10 different reading passages and divide each text into four parts. Next, put students in groups of 4 and give each group a whiteboard and a board marker. Then give each student a number 1-4 and tell them to remember their number.
To begin, tell all students to “go to sleep” (i.e., put their heads on the desk and close their eyes). Then, tell number 1 students to “wake up“. The number 1 students from each group should then open their eyes and look at the teacher. The teacher should then show them the first part of the text. Students should read it and try to remember it.
Next, tell the number 1 students to go back to sleep, and then tell the number 2 students to wake up. Show the number 2 students the 2nd part of the passage, and then tell them to go back to sleep. Do the same with number 3/4 students.
Once all four students have seen their part of the text, tell them all to wake up. They must quickly tell their teammates what they read, and they must write down the completed passage on the whiteboard. The first team to write the whole passage correctly is the winner.
5. Reading Detectives
In this activity, students will be ‘reading detectives’ trying to find words in a text. This game is great for practicing the reading skills of scanning and skimming. The idea of the game is simple. Using a page or two from a text that you are reading, ask students to find all the instances of a particular word or word class.
For example, you can ask students to find out how many times the word ‘summer’ appears in the text or how many adjectives they can find. Give students a few minutes and then ask them how many they found. If they found the same amount as the teacher, they get a point.
6. Find Your Partner
As the name suggests, in this activity, students must find their partners. Before the game, prepare some game cards. Depending on the level of your students and the lesson content, the cards can include words, sentences, or whole paragraphs of text. Ensure to make two sets so that there are two identical cards for each word, sentence, or paragraph.
To play, ask students to put their hands on their heads and close their eyes. Then, walk around the class and place one card face down on each student’s desk. Next, tell students to open their eyes and pick up their cards. Instruct students not to show the card to other students in the class. Now that game can begin.
Students must walk around the class reading what’s on their cards in an attempt to find someone else with the same card. Once they find their partner, they should both go to the teacher, read out what’s on their card, and then sit back down at their desks.
7. The Spy Game
This next game is a fun twist on the above find your partner game. As in the above activity, you’ll need two game cards. Again, you can use words, sentences, or short paragraphs for your game cards, depending on what you are teaching in your reading class. For this activity, you’ll also need to create 3 ‘Spy Cards’. These are blank cards with the word ‘Spy’ on them.
Give each student a card and tell them not to show their card to anyone else. 3 students should have received a ‘spy card’. Tell students that if they received a spy card, then they can be a partner with anyone. The Spy’s job is to try and convince another student that they have the same card as them. The other students’ job is to find their partner without partnering with a spy.
This reading game is a lot of fun, and students will ask to play it time and time again once they get the hang of it. To ensure this game runs smoothly, we would advise first playing the simple find your partner game and then introducing the spy cards.
Thanks for reading. I hope your middle school students have lots of fun playing these reading games in class. Before you go, be sure to check out the following related resources:
50 Debate Topics For Middle School Students
10 Classroom Games For Middle School Students