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Book Club for Kids is a podcast where middle school readers discuss the books they love with host Kitty Felde. The author answers questions. A celebrity reads from the book.

Tips for Creating Lifelong Readers

Tip #54: Articl-ate Reading

Kitty Felde

Our live show at the Colorado Book Festival

Our live show at the Colorado Book Festival

Oh, those non-fiction lovers. 

On the Book Club for Kids podcast, we focus on glorious middle grade fiction - fantasy novels, realistic tales of contemporary life, historic dramas, you name it. But there are some readers who just don't connect with stories that aren't "true."

Ra'Neta Oliver is a fifth grade teacher at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Washington, DC. She says for kids who crave facts instead of fiction, she looks for articles that are "culturally appropriate" for her readers, often related to hot topics all over social media and the news. Recent favorites include stories about the #MeToo movement, #BlackLivesMatter, and International Women's Day.

Ra'Neta uses the free content on Read Works (which offers articles from all sorts of sources, including The Wall Street Journal, the American Museum of Natural History, and even the New York City Ballet.) She says the various reading levels make the material accessible to all of her scholars. She also usesAchieve3000, which is not free.

Ra'Neta admits that news articles aren't a miracle cure for all things reading. Even after finding what she thinks is the perfect article for the perfect kid, it doesn't always work. "They still don't like it," she says with a laugh.

What works for you?