3 Essential 6th Grade Reading IEP Goals | Middle School Reading IEPs

Updated: Jul 15


6th grade reading IEP goals

If your student is in 6th grade and has difficulty with reading skills, don't worry. Many students with special education services find this to be a difficult year academically, especially if they need extra help. That's why we've put together this blog post full of goals and strategies for teaching reading and writing skills to 6th-grade students. So keep reading to learn more!


It can be tough to know what reading goals to include in your student's IEP once they reach middle school.


You may feel like you're starting from scratch now because grade level reading fluency was a significant focus in elementary school, but now that your student is expected to read more complex texts, you may feel lost in goal-setting.


So keep reading to learn more! Some appropriate goals for your student might be:


  • To increase their ability to read and comprehend texts at or above their grade level by X number of months.

  • To improve their vocabulary skills by learning new words and using them correctly in writing and conversation.

  • To be able to write clear and concise essays that include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  • To edit their own writing for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors before turning in any assignments.


If you're not sure where to start when it comes to setting these sorts of goals, don't worry. We've got you covered with some tips and strategies that you can use to help your student improve their reading and writing skills. Check them out below!


Reading Fluency Stops at Elementary School

It is a common misconception that reading fluency is the most important priority for students in middle school. However, this simply is not the case. While fluency is certainly important, other skills take precedence in the middle school years. TeachTastic believes that the most important priority for middle school students is grade-level growth. This may sound counterintuitive, but it is supported by research. Studies have shown that students who focus on grade-level growth are more likely to develop strong reading skills than those who don't. There are several reasons for this. First, grade-level growth forces students to grapple with complex texts and ideas. This helps them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Second, grade-level growth allows students to build on their prior knowledge and experiences. This makes learning more efficient and effective. Finally, grade-level growth prepares students for the rigors of high school and college. In short, grade-level growth should be the top priority for middle school students, even if it sounds counterintuitive at first.


There are several accommodations that can be made to support lower readers in the middle school years. TeachTastic provides a few of these accommodations below.


First, it is important to provide texts that are at the student's level. This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. Complex texts can be overwhelming for lower readers, so make sure to provide texts that are appropriate for their level. Second, consider using a text-to-speech program. This can be a lifesaver for lower readers who are struggling to keep up with their classmates. Third, provide plenty of support and scaffolding. This may include things like graphic organizers, sentence starters, and word banks. These supports will help lower readers to be successful. Finally, make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for practice. Practice makes perfect, so the more opportunities your students have to practice their reading skills, the better.



Great news! We have sorted reading skill priorities for middle school students so that we can focus on the top three skills. These skills are citing text evidence, determining the main idea, and analyzing key details. Let's take a closer look at each one. Citing text evidence is all about being able to find and use specific details from the text to support your answers. This skill is especially important when you are writing an essay or taking a test. Determining the main idea is another critical reading skill. This includes being able to identify the most important information in a text and summarizing it in your own words. Lastly, analyzing key details helps you understand how the details in a text contribute to its meaning as a whole. By understanding these key details, you can get a better sense of the author's purpose for writing the text. These are all great skills to focus on honing in your middle school years!


Citing text evidence

One of the most important goals for all middle school students is to be able to cite evidence from informational texts and literature. This skill is essential to understanding and analyzing what they read. Citing evidence requires students to identify relevant passages, quote accurately, and provide a context for their quotes. Furthermore, citing text evidence helps to develop critical thinking and research skills. Students will be better prepared to succeed in high school, college, and beyond by learning to cite text evidence.


Target IEP Goal


Standards Base: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly, and inferences are drawn from the text.


IEP Goal: By (date), when given a grade-level informational text and a claim about the text, the student will cite text evidence to support the text explicitly, improving reading literacy skills from 0/10 work samples out of ten consecutive trials to 8/10 work samples in ten consecutive trials.


There are many benefits to citing text evidence, but here are three of the most important:


1. Citing text evidence helps students to develop critical thinking skills. When students are asked to cite evidence from a text, they must first identify the relevant information. They then must determine how that information supports their argument or understanding of the text. This process helps students to think more deeply about what they are reading and develop their interpretations of the text.


2. Citing text evidence helps students to develop research skills. To effectively cite text evidence, students need to be able to locate relevant information in a text. This requires skimming and scanning techniques and effectively using search engines and other research tools. By learning how to find and use relevant information from texts, students will be better prepared for future research assignments.


3. Citing text evidence helps students to improve their writing. When students learn to cite text evidence, they also learn to incorporate information from sources into their writing. This is an important skill for success in high school and college. Furthermore, by incorporating text information into their writing, students can make their arguments more convincing and their essays better.


Many strategies can be used to help students learn to cite text evidence. The following are three of the most effective:


Explicit Instruction: One way to help students learn to cite text evidence is to provide explicit instruction. This can be done through modeling, scaffolding, and practice. When providing explicit instruction, it is important to model how to cite text evidence and provide opportunities for students to practice citing evidence with support. For example, take a look at the following sentence:

"The author describes the character as 'lonely and misunderstood.'"


To model how to cite text evidence for this sentence, you could say something like, "The word 'lonely' shows that the character is feeling isolated. I know this because it is quoted directly from the text." You could then provide an opportunity for students to practice citing evidence by asking them to find and cite evidence from the text that supports the idea that the character is feeling isolated.


Graphic Organizers: Graphic organizers can be used to help students organize their thoughts and identify relevant information when citing text evidence. There are many different types of graphic organizers, but some of the most effective include Venn diagrams, T-charts, and story maps. These graphic organizers can be used before, during, or after reading to help students identify and organize relevant information.


Text-Marking Activities: Text-marking activities are a great way to help students identify relevant information in a text. To do a text-marking activity, students must highlight or underline key information in the text. This is a great way to help students focus on the most important information and make it easier for them to find when they need to cite it. For example, take a look at the following sentence:

"The author describes the character as 'lonely and misunderstood.'"


A text-marking activity for this sentence might involve highlighting the word "lonely" and underlining the phrase "misunderstood." This will help students identify these words and phrases as important when looking for evidence to support their claims.


These are just a few of the many strategies that can be used to help students learn to cite text evidence.


Finally, citing text evidence allows them to support their ideas and opinions with concrete evidence. It also leads to improved reading comprehension skills. When students can cite text evidence, they demonstrate comprehension and understand what they have read. This important comprehension skill will help them with all academic skills.


Determining the Meaning of Words in Text

The second most important IEP goal for students is to be able to determine the meaning of words and phrases in text. This includes understanding figurative language, such as similes and metaphors. It also includes understanding vocabulary words that are specific to a particular subject area, such as science or social studies.


Target IEP Goal


Standards Base: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.