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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.


IEP Goal: By (date), when given grade-level informational text on (topic) the student will determine the meaning of words in text by finding context clues within the text, 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 determining word means, but here are three of the most important:


1. Understanding the meaning of words and phrases in text allows students to better understand what they are reading. When students can determine the meaning of words, they are more likely to comprehend the text as a whole. In other words, they are less likely to get lost or confused while reading.


2. Understanding the meaning of words and phrases in text allows students to better communicate their understanding of the text. When students can explain the meaning of words and phrases, they are more likely to be able to explain their understanding of the text to others. This important communication skill will help them in all academic areas.


3. Understanding the meaning of words and phrases in text allows students to better connect with the text. When students can relate to the words and phrases in a text, they are more likely to be engaged with the text and want to read it. This important reading comprehension skill will help them in all academic areas.


To determine the meaning of words in text, students need to be able to use context clues. Context clues are words or phrases that surround a difficult word and can help students determine its meaning. There are four main types of context clues:


Definition/restatement context clues: These are when the author defines or restates the meaning of a word or phrase in the text.


Example: The alligator is a large reptile that lives in swamps and rivers.


Inference context clues: These are when the author gives information that can help you infer the meaning of a word or phrase.

Example: After studying all night, I was exhausted.


Synonym/antonym context clues: These are when the author uses a word that has the same or opposite meaning as the word you are trying to determine.

Example: The class went on a field trip to the zoo, where they saw many animals, including lions and tigers.


Determining the Main Idea

Determining the main idea is a fundamental reading comprehension skill that students must learn to be successful readers. The ability to determine the main idea is also important for writing. Good writers include the main idea, so the reader knows what the piece is about.


Target IEP Goal


Standards Base: Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


IEP Goal: By (date), when given grade-level informational text on (topic) the student will determine the main or central idea, 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 determining, but here are three of the most important:


1. When students can determine the main idea, they can better understand what they read. This is because the main idea is like a road map that tells the reader where the text is going. Therefore, if students can identify the main idea, they will be less likely to get lost while reading.


2. Another important benefit of knowing how to determine the main idea is that it helps students when they are writing. As we mentioned, good writers include the main idea so that readers know what the piece is about. If students can identify the main idea of a text, they will be better able to write about it. They will also be less likely to include irrelevant information in their writing.

3. Finally, determining the main idea is important for test taking. Many standardized tests, such as the SBA and ACT, include questions asking students to determine a passage's main idea. If students can identify the main idea, they will be better able to answer these questions.


There are several strategies that students can use to determine the main idea of a text. In this section, we will discuss three of the most common:


  • identifying the main idea in the first sentence

  • summarizing the text

  • identifying the author's purpose for writing

Let's take a closer look at each of these strategies.

Identifying the Main Idea in the First Sentence: One strategy students can use to determine the main idea is to identify it in the first sentence. This is often possible because the main idea is usually stated explicitly in the opening sentence. For example, take a look at the following sentence:


"The most important thing for a good education is to have well-qualified teachers."


In this sentence, the main idea is stated explicitly. The author says that having well-qualified teachers is the most important thing for a good education. So, if we were asked to determine the main idea of this sentence, we would say that it is "having well-qualified teachers is the most important thing for a good education."


Now, let's look at another example:

"To be a successful student, you need to be able to manage your time wisely."


This sentence also states the main idea explicitly. The author says that managing your time wisely is necessary for being a successful student. So, the main idea of this sentence would be "being able to manage your time wisely is necessary for being a successful student."


As you can see, when the main idea is stated explicitly in the first sentence, it can be easy to determine. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the main idea is implied or not stated directly. We must use other strategies to determine the main idea when this happens.


Summarizing the Text: Another strategy that students can use to determine the main idea is to summarize the text. This can be done by reading the entire text and then writing a brief summary that includes the most important information. For example, let's say we are trying to determine the main idea of the following paragraph:


"The most important thing for a good education is to have well-qualified teachers. To be a successful student, you need to manage your time wisely. These are just two of the many important things for students to learn to be successful in school."


After reading the paragraph, we could write a summary that looks like this:


"There are many things that are important for students to learn to be successful in school, such as having well-qualified teachers and being able to manage their time wisely."


As you can see, our summary includes the two most important pieces of information from the paragraph. It states that many things are important for students to learn, and it lists two of those things. So, if we were asked to determine the paragraph's main idea, we would say that "there are many things that are important for students to learn to be successful in school."


Identifying the Author's Purpose for Writing: Another way to determine the main idea of a text is to identify the author's purpose for writing. This can be done by asking yourself why the author wrote the text. There are four possible reasons why an author would write something:


  • to inform

  • to persuade

  • to entertain

  • to express themselves

If the author's purpose is to inform, then the text's main idea will be to provide information. For example, if we are trying to determine the main idea of an article about global warming, we would say it is "to provide information about global warming."


If the author's purpose is to persuade, then the text's main idea will be to convince the reader to believe something. For example, if we are trying to determine the main idea of an advertisement for a new car, we would say it is "to convince the reader to buy a new car."

If the author's purpose is to entertain, then the text's main idea will be to amuse or entertain the reader. So, for example, if we are trying to determine the main idea of a joke, we would say that it is "to make the reader laugh."

If the author's purpose is to express themselves, then the text's main idea will be to share the author's thoughts or feelings. For example, if we are trying to determine the main idea of a poem, we would say that it is "to express the author's thoughts or feelings."

As you can see, there are many ways to determine the main idea of a text. The most important thing is to choose the strategy that makes the most sense for the text you are reading.


To help students reach these goals, we have put together a list of activities and resources that can be used in the classroom. These activities and resources are designed to help students increase their reading comprehension skills and improve their ability to determine main idea.


Activities: One activity that can help students determine the main idea is "I Spy." In this activity, students read through a short passage and then identify the main idea. To do this, they scan the passage for keywords and phrases that indicate what it is about. Once they have found these keywords and phrases, they use them to form a sentence that states the passage's main idea.

Another activity that can be used to help students determine the main idea is called "Main Idea Scavenger Hunt." In this activity, students read through a variety of passages and identify the main idea of each one. To do this, they look for keywords and phrases that indicate what the passage is about. Once they have found these keywords and phrases, they use them to form a sentence that states the passage's main idea.


Resources: One resource that can be used to help students determine the main idea is a graphic organizer. Graphic organizers are great tools for helping students organize information and identify key details. There are many different types of graphic organizers, so be sure to choose one that will work best for your students.

Another resource that can be used to help students determine the main idea is the main idea worksheet. Main idea worksheets are great resources for practicing identifying a passage's main idea. These worksheets can be used as practice at home or in the classroom.


We hope you find these activities and resources helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you in any.


  1. Being able to identify and locate relevant information in a text

  2. Determining the main idea or central theme of a text

  3. Analyzing the author's use of language and structure.


By mastering these skills, students will be well-prepared to succeed in all their future academic endeavors.


We hope this blog post has given you some helpful ideas for teaching reading and writing skills to your sixth-grade student. If you have any questions about IEP goals or strategies, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're here to help!


Reading and writing skills are essential for success in school and in life. Using the goals and strategies outlined in this blog post, you can help your child develop the skills they need to succeed. Thanks for reading! We hope this was helpful. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Good luck!