Middle Grades 6 - 8 Lessons
Reading and Comprehension Skills
• Comprehension Strategies ...Reading is the key to unlocking math, social studies, science, health, government, and yes, your favorite fiction novel. There are strategies you can use to find the information you need, make sense of what you read, and use what you read to make decisions. With so many subjects and so much reading to do, it makes sense to learn strategies that will help you understand and remember what you read. Have you ever read a novel and tried to guess the ending? That skill is called “predicting outcomes” You can use this skill with everything you read whether it is your favorite novel or a chapter in your biology textbook. There are many strategies to explore in this Web lesson including cause and effect, drawing conclusions, making generalizations, and monitoring comprehension by asking questions.
• Nonfiction...Like a good detective, you have learned how to look for clues and to carefully examine what you read in order to gain a full understanding of the text you are reading. By becoming familiar with reading comprehension strategies like visualizing, synthesizing, making connections, prior knowledge, inferring, evaluating, questioning, summarizing, paraphrasing and learning how to find context clues, the main idea, topic sentences, supporting details, and the author’s purpose, you will solve your case every time!
• Story Sequencing...Story sequencing is a technique that will help you achieve better reading comprehension. Many diagrams can help you put a story in its correct sequence. These include mountain graphics, ranking diagrams, continuum scales, cycle diagrams, bridging snapshots diagrams, series of events chains, and problem/solution outlines. Each diagram has specific techniques that will help you see the story from a different perspective, while still putting the main events in order. The diagrams draw out different aspects of the story so that once you have used a specific diagram on a story, you will better understand what you are reading and will be able to better recall it later.
• Components of Fiction...Reading for enjoyment is important because you develop your reading skills. When reading for understanding, you will retain more by focusing on the elements of fiction: theme, setting, character, plot, and point of view. Being able to understand how the characters overcome problems and how they interact with the setting can deepen your understanding of fictional stories. Knowing the author’s purpose for writing helps you to determine the message the author is trying to convey. Once you learn these elements, you will develop a better understanding of fictional short stories and novels. Knowing these elements can also help you write fictional short stories.
• Analyzing Fictional Techniques...When working with fictional writing, it is important to note fictional techniques. This will not only enrich the literature that you are reading, but it will help you to incorporate the techniques in your own writing. In most of your reading, you have probably already encountered these specific fictional techniques without even realizing it. When you write, try to develop each technique and you will see that many of them connect to each other. Your foreshadowing and point of view will add to your mood and tone. When you use character conflict and symbolism, you will engage the reader in your writing. By studying and developing each of these fictional techniques, you will become a better writer.
• Graphic Organizers...You have learned a great deal about graphic organizers. There are a wide variety of different graphic organizers. Considering how and why to use graphic organizers is a vital step in the process. Always remember the fact that though many different kinds of graphic organizers already exist, you need not use a previously developed template, or model. Instead, you should take the liberty to develop your own model that best meets your needs. These needs will evolve whether you use the organizer to develop deeper understanding of written text or brainstorm before you write your own paper. Though you can certainly develop your own graphic organizers, certainly try already-developed graphic organizers as well. There are many benefits from using them.
• Fairytales, Fables, and Folktales...Fairytales, fables, and folktales have amused and enlightened audiences around the world for millennia, and they continue to do so into the present day. Each one has particular features that make it distinct from the group, but they all succeed in taking us out of the ordinary and placing us in the extraordinary. Despite using non-human characters, magical places, and incredible circumstances, these stories encourage us to see our own reflections – our own frailties and struggles.
• Fairytales and Folktales from Around the World...Japan, Bangladesh, Angola, China – all of these countries have stories with rich, vivid detail that draw the reader and listener into the tale. Though we may be unfamiliar with some of the elements or environments within the story, we can still share the wonder of hearing a well-written story. In addition, these tales not only entice and captivate us, but also teach us, providing insights into life that are still applicable today. Indeed, one might say that the heart of a people is in its stories. To neglect reading or sharing these tales is to neglect the wit and wisdom of the ages.
Masters and Masterpieces
• Identity...Would we know what we looked like if we never saw our reflection? Literature can be a mirror into our character, goals, longings, personality, faults, and relationships. Viewing choices others made, difficulties they face, growing changes in their lives all can help us to see ourselves clearer. The best authors know that there are universal conflicts that we each face but different ways for us to react to these problems. As we read a variety of literature, we can determine where we fit into the picture now, where we want to go and how best to achieve our goals and dreams. The reflection of our deepest self is much more lasting than outward appearances. Can we not take the time to look carefully inside a book to see ourselves?
• Family...Many of the literary masterpieces we know and love include themes of family, whether parents, siblings, or extended family members. In fact, we see in some cases that family does not necessarily mean those who are related by blood. Family is often realized by adoption, friendship, or situation. The authors you have studied in this lesson were people whose families were important to them, and their writings were inspired by experiences they had within their own families.
• Survival...Many writers have written about the concept of survival because it is interesting to the reader to see how people respond when placed in dire circumstances. “Robinson Crusoe,” Swiss Family Robinson,” “Call of the Wild,” “Lord of the Flies,” and “Hatchet” explore the concept of survival, especially against nature. In all five of these novels, the characters are in a battle with nature that, if they lose, ultimately means death. As the characters face nature, some of them learn to work in harmony with it, utilizing its vast resources for their own survival. These characters come out of the battle with a new understanding about themselves and, in some cases, about society.
• The Great Depression...The Great Depression was a difficult time in our world’s history. The people who lived through it had to suffer extreme loss, poverty, hunger, and distress. Parents worried for their children’s health and happiness, and children were hungry and often affected by their parents’ worry. People looked for a distraction during this scary time. Despite the difficult economy, there were some things that still thrived. People turned to books to escape their troubles. Books could take their minds to a different place, help them remember the things that are truly important, and even provide an uncommon laugh! There were a number of masters and masterpieces arising during The Great Depression. There were a vast variety of titles from which to choose. If you wanted something silly, you could pick up Dr. Seuss’ children’s books. If you wanted a love story, you could take a walk through Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” If you wanted to learn about other cultures, you could explore Pearl Buck’s “The Good Earth.” For those wanting a good American novel, “Gone with the Wind” was an excellent choice. And people longing for a book that would relate to them in their actual situation could choose “The Grapes of Wrath.” These literary masterpieces have transcended time and remain a part of American culture even today.
• Finding the Meaning...Not knowing the meaning of just one word can limit your understanding of an entire passage. Having the clues to understanding new words do not just build your vocabulary, but your ability to understand and think about the whole text. Being able to understand the nuances of a word gives you the tools to think in new and different ways about something you thought was familiar to you, such as love or freedom. As you become more familiar with the way words can be used, you will find that you are able to understand what the author was trying to convey in a given passage. The ability to understand and analyze the ideas of others is how we grow in knowledge, wisdom, and compassion.
• Working with Vocabulary...Your vocabulary is made up of all the words you know. These are words you have learned in school and words you have heard on television, from your parents and family, and in your community. As you grow, your vocabulary grows to include all kinds of words with many meanings. When you have a large vocabulary, it is much easier to understand what you read whether it is a chapter on the Civil War or the process of photosynthesis. You can broaden your vocabulary by understanding and identifying the synonyms and antonyms of words and by recognizing that some words have multiple meanings. Knowing the right meaning of a word helps us to understand and process what we read.
• Aspects of Vocabulary...In this Web lesson, we learned that part of understanding new vocabulary is being able to identify parts of words, punctuation marks, and shortened forms of words in order to gain meaning from words. While the word “comfort” means to feel relaxed, if you add the prefix “un” then it means the opposite. If you add the suffix “able” to this new word, it might describe how uncomfortable you might feel taking a final exam in algebra. We also learned that an apostrophe can tell us what a word means. An apostrophe can be added to a word to show ownership, but it can also be used when other letters in the word are omitted like in “do not” becomes “don’t”. Finally, as we read and write we may see or use abbreviations or acronyms in the place of a word or phrase. If you text your friends, you probably use many abbreviations to compose your message more quickly. Understanding how these terms help us to build a stronger vocabulary.
• Word Origin (Etymology)...When we learn the root meaning of a word, we learn the basic building block of its definition. This will help us understand the whole word with prefixes and suffixes, as well as is shades of meanings. For instance, Greek and Latin roots are often used for technical or scientific terms. If we can identify a word with a root from one of these languages, it can help us understand the intentions of the author, and the context of the documents we read. Understanding the roots and affixes can help us to understand the meanings of unfamiliar words as well.
Grammar and Usage Skills
• Punctuation...Now you know how important punctuation is to your writing. Punctuation includes more than just what you end your sentences with. Other forms of important punctuation include commas, colons, semi-colons, apostrophes, hyphens, parentheses, and quotation marks. Here are just a few ways these forms of punctuation help make you a better writer. Commas help clarify your meaning and enable you to write things more clearly. Commas and semi-colons can advance your writing by allowing you to be more creative with your sentence structure. Colons help you make a statement by drawing attention to certain details. Apostrophes help sort out what belongs to whom and make things easier to say. Hyphens give you more options when describing a noun. Parentheses (along with commas) allow you to add in extra information to a sentence. Quotation marks help readers identify your dialogue and give credit to the original speaker.
• Parts of a Sentence...See? That was not too confusing! Here is a quick summary of what you just learned. Simple sentences are simple. They have a subject and a predicate. Compound sentences are compound. They join two or more simple sentences. Remember to make sure they are joined by a comma and a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). Complex sentences are slightly more complex. They join an independent and a dependent clause. Do not forget - if the independent clause comes first you do not need a comma, but if the dependent clause comes first, place a comma after it. Fragments are just a fragment (part) of a sentence and are not a complete sentence. Run-on sentences tend to run on and on, sometimes too fast for proper punctuation.
• Parts of Speech: Nouns...Nouns were the words you learned first, because saying the name of the object was easier than pointing! Attaching a word to something gives it an identity or a name. However, it is important to be specific with the word. When you were little you might have said “ball” and everyone would spring into action to bring you any kind of ball. But as your language skills grew, you learned to be more specific and were able to name things like soccer ball, football, or basketball. Understanding the difference between common and proper, singular and plural, concrete and abstract, and how to use possessive and collective nouns correctly will help you polish your writing. Using specific types of nouns in writing and speaking is important so you can communicate precisely what you want to say.
• Noun Usage...People often think of nouns as “people, places, or things”; however, there is more to nouns than this. They also convey ideas, emotions, and qualities. Nouns fall into several broad categories: common and proper, abstract and concrete, countable and non-countable. To keep you on your toes, irregulars break the patterns: the plural of woman is women, not womans; the possessive of bus is not bus’s. Without clearly communicated nouns, we will not know who, where, what, or how many. To understand each other, we have to understand nouns.
• Types of Sentences...It is important to understand the proper forms of sentence writing (the four types of sentences, compound/complex sentences, and complete sentences), as well as the improper forms of sentence writing (run-on sentences, fragments, and dependent clauses). You have seen how using different sentence types can make your paragraphs more interesting, and how avoiding run-on sentences can help your readers stay focused on your words. Think about what a better writer you will be now that you know these techniques!
• Parts of Speech: Verbs ...People often think of verbs as “action words.” However, there is more to verbs than action. The six verb tenses are indicated by only a few letters at the end of the verb—s, ed, ing—yet, these little endings both tell when and how many. To keep you on your toes, irregular verbs break the conjugation patterns. With so much of a sentence’s clarity resting on their shoulders, verbs are worthy of our attention.
• Parts of Speech: Pronouns...Congratulations, you are now a pro at pronouns! Although pronouns have such a simple definition (replacing nouns), they are really a little trickier to use than you might think. This is because there are a number of different types. First, you need to choose the correct word, so it helps to know the type that is appropriate to the situation. The two main things you have to watch out for are the facts that (1) it is clear who/what you are referring to and (2) your antecedent (noun) and pronoun agree in number. Do not forget! A singular noun needs to be referred to by a singular pronoun, and a plural noun needs to be referred to by a plural pronoun.
• Parts of Speech: Adjectives and Adverbs...Adjectives describe nouns or pronouns, but you have also learned about other types of adjectives. Articles are adjectives because they give some information about a noun. “A” or “an” are indefinite articles because they make a general statement about something. “The” is a definite article because it makes a specific statement about something. Comparative adjectives compare two or more nouns. To compare two nouns, use the ending -er and place the word “than” after it. To compare three or more nouns, use the ending -est. Nouns and verbs can be changed into adjectives by changing the endings. Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Since adverbs can move around in the sentence, you have learned four questions to ask to help you find them: how, when, where, why. You can also change adjectives into adverbs by using the ending -ly.
• Parts of Speech: Prepositions, Conjunctions, and Interjections ...It is important to correctly identify and use prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. Prepositions are words used to show a relationship between a noun or a pronoun and some other word in the sentence, and they often show time, place, or movement. The object of the preposition is found by asking who or what after the preposition, and the prepositional phrase begins with the preposition and ends with the object of the preposition. Conjunctions connect other words or groups of words to each other. There are three types of conjunctions: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative. Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so) join words, phrases, or clauses. Subordinating conjunctions introduce dependent clauses and join the dependent clause to the main clause in a sentence. Correlative conjunctions work in pairs (both/and; either/or; neither/nor; not only/but also; so/as; whether/or). Finally, interjections are short words or phrases used to express emotion. Mild interjections are followed by a comma: So, how was your day? Strong interjections end with an exclamation mark: Yikes! That was scary!
• Working with Verbs...Working with verbs may involve only simple verbs, but many changes can be made to the verb form. Simple verbs, like active, passive, and linking verbs, are true forms of verbs. However, verbals are words that have the idea of action or being, but they do not function as true verbs. Gerunds, infinitives, and participles are all important parts of grammar. Knowing the difference between these types of verbs will help us as we use the English language. Whether you are reading what others have written or writing something yourself, it is important to know how to use these words properly. As you continue to practice, you will increasingly develop your skills.
• Diagramming Sentences...You have learned how to diagram the basic parts of a sentence, and as you learn more complex grammatical constructions, you can learn how to diagram those as well. All sentences share the basic structure that you have learned, however, so this introduction to diagramming has given you a full picture of diagramming as a whole. Remember that every sentence has two parts: the subject and the predicate. No matter how complex a sentence is, it will always have these two parts. Nouns and verbs, which are the most important words, go on horizontal lines, and all the modifiers go on slanted lines that are attached to them. Thus, just the lines themselves show you how the English language works and which parts are more or less important!
Written and Oral Language Conventions
• Types of Paragraphs...Paragraphs help to organize and present a writing sample in a clear and concise manner for the reader. Seven different types of paragraphs each provide unique methods for conveying a story, information, an analysis, an opinion, and other purposes. By utilizing the narrative, expository, descriptive, process analysis, classification, persuasive, and informational types of paragraphs, we may create well-written and meaningful reports, essays, articles, and more.
• The Writing Process...The writing process is a complicated endeavor, comprised of numerous components: pre-writing, drafting, revising, proofreading, editing, and publishing. Strong writers must thoughtfully complete each step of the writing process. However, these writers recognize that often the process can be circular - one in which writers continue to switch back and forth between the various components.
• Introduction to Persuasive Writing...Trying to convince your parents to let you do something, watching commercials on TV, or reading an ad in a magazine are all example of how being persuasion is a part of your daily life. The goal of persuasive writing is to convince people to agree with you. To do this, you must grab their attention in the beginning, and keep their attention through a well-developed argument that includes facts to support your opinion. Remember, a strong persuasive essay will also include reasons why your position is better than the opposite position. Finally, your persuasive essay should end with a call to action, which your reader should feel motivated enough to follow.
• Basics of Expository Writing...An expository essay informs, explains, or exposes. An expository essay could be written in many forms such as a letter, a report, or an article. It can also be organize in a variety of ways including explaining how to do something, the order in which things occur, comparing and contrasting two or more things, or by explaining the causes and effects of something. It is important for an expository to contain facts rather than opinions. Quotes are a good way to include facts in your essay. You may also paraphrase or summarize information from other sources and include it in your essay as long as you document where it originally came from.
• Make Use of Organizational Structures and Patterns...Every essay has a common structure: an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, the organizational structure will depend upon your topic. You might want to write about the effects of a volcanic eruption to a small village. This is an example of a cause and effect essay. You would brainstorm all of the effects on the small village caused by the volcano. If you wanted to compare your school to your rival school, you would list what is similar and what is not. This is an example of a comparison and contrast essay. When you write instructions on how to do something, this is another type of organizational structure. This is procedure or instruction writing. In each type of structure, transition words and phrases are important. They help the reader anticipate what will come next and ties ideas together. If you think about these rules when you write, your essay will be better organized. Your reader will have a good understanding of whatever you write about.
• Introduction to Narrative Writing...Although non-fictional or biographical narrative writing follows a similar structure to other types of writing, fictional narrative writing has a format all of its own. All good fictional narrative writing must have a plot. It is important to grab the reader’s attention and to introduce the setting and main characters at the beginning of your story. Another key component of fictional narrative writing is conflict. The conflict can be either external or internal, and it will build interest and hold your reader’s attention. Other important aspects of all narrative writing include using active voice as much as possible and using senses other than just sight to create interesting descriptions.
• Point of View...Point of view is an important part of an author’s decision when considering how to write the story. As you have seen, the entire story can change depending on the perspective of the person who is narrating it. It is important for readers to understand point of view in order for them to understand the author’s full meaning for the story. For example, a reader must decide whether the main character in a story written from a first person point of view is really trustworthy or believable or not. When reading a story from a third person omniscient (all-knowing) point of view, the reader must remember that not all the characters have the same information as the reader since he/she has access to each main characters’ thought, opinions, and feelings.
• Writing Techniques...There are many ways to make your writing interesting and enjoyable. Making sure you write a good paragraph, especially a good leading paragraph, can get your reader hooked from the very beginning. Using techniques like persuasion, concision, active voice, parallel structure, compound sentences, similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole, and alliteration will keep readers interested as they continue to read. Remember that variety is an essential part of good writing. At the same time, however, you must not neglect the fundamentals. Employing the basics properly will allow your other techniques to stand out all the more.
• Responding to Literature - Fiction...Literature is a term which refers to fiction novels, short stories, poems, and plays. In this Web lesson, you learned about novels, short stories, and poems. Within fiction, there are elements that help us to understand and make sense of the story. These elements are plot, character, point of view, setting, and theme. Within the plot, there is a conflict which can be about a man versus man, or man versus nature. The theme of a story or even a poem can answer the question “What have I learned” or sometimes give us a moral. Authors use figurative language when they write fiction or poems. Figurative language can help us imagine a scene or event. Figurative language can also tell us more about a character. We use the elements of fiction and figurative language to respond to a story. As in the poem “The Road Not Taken,” we can respond by thinking about choices we have made in our lives. A story is more than just something to read. A story or poem can impact they way we see ourselves and our world.
• Responding to Literature - Nonfiction...Nonfiction is the type of text we read every day to get information. Nonfiction is used to explain, inform, advise, persuade, argue, or instruct. If you understand the type of nonfiction you are reading, you can correctly respond to it in writing. As you read nonfiction, you will see text features that are special and help us to learn more information. You probably noticed that your science textbook has a table of contents, index, titles, subtitles and a glossary. Within the chapters, you will see pictures with captions that give information. You will also see maps, charts, and graphs. Sometimes a writer will include a textbox, which gives you even more information about a subject. Lastly, you should always remember to think of your purpose, audience, and text type as you write nonfiction text. These tips will help you become a better writer.
• Figurative Language...Figurative language is used to describe something in an imaginative way. Figurative language does not describe the literal or the true sense of the object or idea. You often compare one thing to something else that is very different. For example, to describe how long you wait in a line, you might say, “I waited a million years.” You did not really wait that long, but you are comparing the time to something really big to give your reader or listener a picture of your situation. You might describe a baby’s cheeks as being “soft as velvet.” Cheeks are not made of velvet, but you want to show how soft the baby’s cheeks felt. There are many types of figurative language: simile, metaphor, alliteration, idiom, personification, symbolism, and onomatopoeia. We use figurative language when we speak and we use it in poetry and prose.
• Poetry...Poetry can take many different forms, from something as simple as a limerick or haiku to a complex composition like a ballad or sonnet. These forms help us express exactly what we mean to say in just the right collection of words. As you increase your knowledge of poetry through reading and recitation, you will begin to see new and wonderful things about poetry, even (and especially) in works you have known for a long time. All it takes to become an appreciator of poetry is patience, a well-tuned ear, and an open heart. Who knows – maybe you will become a great poet yourself!
• Correspondence Writing...Whether written by hand, typed, or emailed, our written words to others are important. Through them we share our experiences, invite others to join us, let them know how grateful we are for a gift, tell them facts or ask questions, and let our voice be heard on issues that concern us. We can now communicate with more people at a faster pace. This means we need to be even more careful in the form we use and in our choice of words. One way of communicating does not mean that all other ways are outdated. We now have the freedom to choose how we send our message as well as what we want to say. When we carefully write our correspondence and use language to its fullest extent, our message will be clear and cause fewer misunderstandings.
• Personal Narrative Writing...Personal narratives are stories from our life that explain a situation or belief in a brief but interesting essay. We write them in first person and use proper punctuation, grammar and use of dialogue. Sometimes we might use photographs or media to enhance our story. Whether typed, online, hand-written or recorded by video, we can share our stories with friends and family.
• Biographies and Autobiographies...Overwhelmingly, people agree that the most interesting story is the story of a life. It is amazing to find out that each person who has lived probably has something in common with us and that we can learn from their achievements and mistakes. Researching and writing a biography is a way to learn about the triumphs and difficulties, losses and dreams that we share with others
• Writing Plays and Skits...Writing drama has similarities to all narrative writing. The characters and conflict need to be believable. When the conflict is resolved readers need to understand how this affects the characters. Drama has additional elements that the writer must be aware of that are unique, however. Dialogue moves the action rather than description. Stage and voice directions are needed. Settings must be considered and understood. After a script is written, revised, and finally performed, the playwright enjoys something that other authors often do not. The playwright can share an evening of his or her work with those who participate as both actors and audience.
• Writing for a Test...Writing an answer to an essay question for a test begins when the lesson starts. Take good notes in class and read your textbook and notes carefully. Make flashcards with key words and ideas. Form a study group with classmates to review your notes and flashcards. On the day of the test, read over all of the test questions carefully. Underline the key words in the question so that you can focus on what your teacher is asking of you. Remember that short answer essay questions are used to find out if you know the basic facts. The extended response essay is much longer and like the essay you might write in class or for homework. It should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. In your body paragraphs, make sure you include proof for your supporting details. Proof is evidence by showing facts or examples. If you have time, proofread your answer for any grammar or punctuation mistakes. Follow these steps and you will write an essay that answers the question and includes all of the information your teacher wants to see.
• Components of Mysteries...Mystery writing can be an exciting and fun way to create both your own mystery story line and fascinating characters who are able to find the solution. Plot, action, and suspense are all critical components. The characters, plot, setting, clues, and red herrings should be woven together to make readers want to read more to see if they can solve the puzzle before the protagonist does. First, we decide on the mystery and the characters. Then map out the plot and solution before we begin writing. After revisions and rewriting, we can stump our friends with our very own mystery and surprise ending.
Study Skills, Research, and Reference Skills
• Developing Strategies of Research...A research project does not have to be as difficult as it sounds. Brainstorming ideas comes first, and can be the most fun. A good way to organize your ideas is to make a concept map. Getting your thoughts on paper this way helps to narrow down a specific idea or subject you would like to research. Writing a thesis comes next, after you have narrowed down your ideas to a single topic or argument. A thesis statement must inspire your reader to ask “How?” or “Why?” and you must be ready to provide evidence for your belief. Gathering information is a crucial part of the research project. Using notecards to organize your source material is an excellent way to make the next part of the research process easier. (Don’t forget to paraphrase, summarize, and quote correctly!) Making an outline ensures that you will stick to the ‘plan’ of your paper, and makes the writing process a whole lot easier. It is the perfect map that will lead your reader effortlessly through your argument and hopefully guide them to the ‘treasure’ – your thesis!
• Using a Wide Variety of Resources...The Internet is a great tool for research. You can find the answer to every question at the click of a mouse. Whether you are looking for facts, opinions, or both, the World Wide Web is the place to go. However, when you are writing a research paper, or anything requiring solid research, you must be selective with the Web pages you choose. Web sites should be filtered based on the publisher and the author to maintain validity and authority and reliability. They should contain little to no bias, but rather be based on facts. They should be in-depth, containing research elements such as quotes, statistics, and outside sources. They should be accurate, which can be discovered by cross-checking them with other reliable sites. In addition, they should be up-to-date to ensure relevancy. Sites like Wikipedia may not contain examples of good research. Valid sources are the cornerstone of solid research.