The 20 most-read articles for middle school students

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 HeadersUnique 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
Donald Trump 208,259
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.

We’ll be releasing insights from Newsela’s dataset on a weekly basis. Interested in getting content insights about your school or district? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

Where engaging content meets instruction

Where engaging content meets instruction

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