Wikipedia has really cleaned up its act over the last couple of years to become a far more reputable site than it ever has been. As a teacher I now feel far more confident in letting my students use it for researching general information as long as they are aware of the model upon which Wikipedia is built and recommend verifying a fact from a second source such as a .edu site.
I recently put this activity and worksheet together for my students to use in our reading hour to give them a platform for generating ideas for the writing hour. It works as follows using Wikipedia or any other great information sites you feel comfortable with.
Students have to spend 15 minutes researching something on Wikipedia that personally interests them. It can be absolutely anything. This covers the text-to-self element of the activity.
Secondly students will look at the Text-to-World element of reading for fifteen minutes by researching and reading about events that affect our world. This could both a recent event or an ongoing issue such as climate change.
Finally students will make a link to a book that they are currently reading by researching a person, place or event that is related to their text being read or maybe recently finished.
When Students have completed the 45 minutes of reading they bring their sheets back to the group to discuss what they have found and also outline one of the three writing ideas they generated by completing the attached wikipedia recording sheet.
The next phase of the task is to begin putting those writing ideas into action.
I hope you find this reading activity useful.