An important component of reading comprehension is exposing children to a wide variety of texts and topics. Magazines are a useful resource in this regard, especially those designed for children as they tend to have an abundance of ‘high-interest’ content in a range of genres presented in an appealing format. In addition, they often include a range of interactive content such as crafts, puzzles and games. Children’s magazines are a great supplement to a child’s reading development and may be particularly appealing for reluctant readers. A subscription to a magazine provides a regular dose of anticipation and excitement!
Literary magazines generally contain a large range of content allowing you to explore a range of literary techniques:
- Point of view – discuss the point of view used in the text and/or discuss specific situations from another character’s point of view.
- Characterisation – discus how a character’s attitudes and values are portrayed through appearance, actions, dialogue, thoughts and beliefs and other peoples’ perspective of the character.
- Literacy techniques – identify synonyms, metaphors, personification, alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc. and the impact these techniques have on your understanding and appreciation of the text.
- Structure – discuss the structure of the text. How does the structure influence how you read and interpret the information?
- Illustrations, photographs and other non-text elements – discuss how these elements influence your understanding of the written text.
- Differentiate between different types of texts and different genres.
- Vocabulary development.
Magazines can provide timely information on current topics. Use these articles as a jumping off point for:
- An in depth discussion on the topic and considering the topic from different perspectives.
- Exploring the topic further in the library or through online resources.
- Discovering family members’ knowledge of and perhaps personal experiences related to the topic.
Magazines offer a useful resource as a prompt for writing activities. Students can:
- Respond to the texts they read in a written format – a report, rewrite the story in another format (e.g., a play into prose, interview of a character, emotional response, developing story maps, etc.).
- Create a piece of writing using the magazine text as a model.
- Write captions, titles, headlines for pictures, stories, charts, etc.
- Write a letter to the editor explaining a particular point of view on one of the topics.
- Submit a joke, story, article or poem to the magazine for possible publication.
Many children’s magazines offer additional resources which requires following directions or instructions. These activities often provide a great opportunity for children to work with each other or with an adult (e.g., games, recipes, craft activities, puzzles, etc.).
With a little thought you can probably think of many different activities. Just a few more ideas:
- Create a poll for children to record their favourite article.
- Practise and then read a favourite article to a younger child.
- Practise and perform plays included in the magazine or turn a story in the magazine into a play.
- Take one word in a story and change it for your own made-up word. Read a section of the story using the made-up word to see if other students can determine the real word.
- Competent readers can be recorded reading an article which less competent students can then use to support their own reading.
Create Magazine Collections
Create collections of magazines that are then made easily accessible for students.
- Obviously a subscription is a good starting point. Some education-based magazines have a digital subscriptions which might be a cheaper option if you would like all children in your class to be able to access the same magazine at the same time.
- Ask your local library if they have back issues of magazines that they no longer want.
- Browse bookstores, garage sales and markets for magazine collections.
- Ask school families if they have a collection of magazines they could donate.
Reading Rockets suggested magazine list
Other commercial magazines for children.
NOTE: I WOULD NOT BE RECOMMENDING ALL OF THESE MAGAZINES. PLEASE BE THOUGHTFUL IN YOUR SELECTION AND CONSIDER THE UNDERLYING MESSAGES REFLECTED BY THE CONTENT IN THE MAGAZINES.