The 20 most-read articles for middle school students
When it comes to what middle school students want to read, Newsela’s most popular titles reflect an interest in the meaning behind social interactions, as well as a desire to understand more complex ideas and issues of the past and present day.
|Article Headers||Unique User Views|
|Why songs get stuck in our heads||631,881|
|"Fortnite" shoots up gaming charts||387,366|
|Gaming is good; kids say yesss!||351,832|
|Emojis play key communication role||286,275|
|PRO/CON: A self-driving future?||273,485|
|Therapy tool or distracting toy?||270,273|
|Drake and friends play "Fortnite"||267,017|
|PRO/CON: Anthem protests||255,435|
|PRO/CON: Self-driving cars for all?||240,878|
|"No One Eats Alone Day"||214,839|
|9/11 terror attacks on U.S.||211,515|
|There really is a great pumpkin||210,762|
|Haunted houses through the ages||209,498|
|Why daylight saving time?||209,002|
|PRO/CON: Let's do school lunch||207,781|
|Martin Luther King Jr.||206,685|
|The Holocaust Part 1||206,029|
|Those colorful male birds||202,560|
|I Have a Dream||200,962|
Fitting in socially tops the list of many middle schoolers’ concerns, so it’s no surprise that headlines like “No One Eats Alone Day” appear among the most popular articles (while being notably absent from the lists of other age ranges). A preoccupation with social interactions is further hinted at by the popularity of articles about communicating with emojis and gaming, as students look to navigate a world increasingly defined by social media and online activities.
Middle school students are also beginning to look outside themselves, as they start to make sense of events shaping the wider world. Popular articles explored the pros and cons of complex, timely issues, including athletes protesting the national anthem, the debate around healthy school lunches, and the possibility of self-driving cars. And this engagement with legitimate news stories on current events—especially ones that explore contrasting viewpoints—is becoming more important than ever: as a study conducted by the Stanford History Education Group recently showed, middle school students often struggle to “distinguish an ad from a news story.”
Middle school students are also starting to explore some of the most difficult parts of our history, from the Holocaust to the terror attacks of 9/11. These titles don’t appear on the top lists for elementary or high school students, indicating that middle school is when students start to grapple with hard history and its impact on the present day.
Lastly, the science behind how things work continues to attract middle schoolers, overlapping with the curiosity of readers in elementary and high school. Understanding why songs get stuck in our heads drew the largest number of middle school readers, along with other science-driven articles about self-driving cars, daylight savings time, and why male birds are more colorful than females.
And why not turn to science for answers? In a time when social interactions seem infinitely mysterious, there’s satisfaction to be found in getting to the bottom of some of life’s slightly less daunting questions.
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