First, it is important to ensure that students annotate what he or she is reading. I often find this useful whenever I read anything because it helps me comprehend the text much better and I it generates ideas that can lead to a paper topic. Obviously, students would not be able to write in a school textbook but give them sticky notes to use or create a reading guide to jot down some of their responses/ideas.
Secondly, have the students take notes on the text. They can take notes in a writer’s notebook, or they can take notes on a reading guide. (The reading guide can be used in any of these strategies, I would think.) I like the idea of having a writer’s notebook for two reasons: 1) I can put my thoughts, likes, dislikes, questions in a notebook that helps me think about what I am reading, what I am missing or gaining from the text, 2) in one of my education classes, we talked about how it is important that when you read, you write. Both go together to expand comprehension.
Finally, students should write a summary of what they are reading. Now, she says the rhetorical response was used with high school students, but I think it can be used with middle school students as long as it is not too much and overwhelming. This assignment would take some time planning regardless of level! I even had a time understanding it!