8th English


Junior High English Language Arts Syllabus – 2023 – 2024

Course Overview: This class will introduce you to many thought-provoking pieces of literature and nonfiction, providing you with the opportunity to engage in rich discussions and enjoyable activities around our readings. It will also build upon your ability to write clearly, with depth and passion, while strengthening your understanding of grammar and conventions. Writing is an essential academic skill as you move toward high school, college, and beyond. Throughout the year, you will strengthen your vocabulary, which in turn, will help you become a more effective reader and writer. In this class, you will come to see the power that language has!

Textbooks & Resources: 

  • Collections and Close Reader (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Vocabulary Workshop (Sadlier)
  • Literature (Prentice Hall)
  • IXL Grammar Online Program


Tests / Quizzes 40%

Essays 30%

Assignments 20%

Independent Reading   5%

Participation   5%


1) Grammar (including IXL), Greek & Latin roots, and vocabulary lessons are integrated within the reading and writing curriculum and begin many daily lessons. Students can expect quizzes or tests in these areas once or twice per month.

2) Students are expected to use their textbooks to complete reading tasks. Each student will receive his/her own Close Reader workbook and will complete assignments in this throughout the year.

3) Thorough note-taking during grammar, writing, and literature discussions is required. 

4) Participation in discussion is required and will be formally graded several times throughout the year. Students can expect some project-based assessments, group & partner activities, and oral reports.

5) Students can expect to write in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes (i.e. descriptive/narrative, argumentative/persuasive, research/expository). At least two major writing assignments will be required each trimester in addition to several smaller writing tasks.

6) Independent outside reading is required and is worth 5% of the grade. Please see The Battle of the Books Handout for further requirements.

7) Students will read the play, A Christmas Carol during their 7th grade year and will read the play, The Diary of Anne Frank, during their 8th grade year.

8) Each year we supplement our curriculum with special events, such as field trips and guest speakers.

8th Grade Literature Units:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Poetry Unit with poems by Shakespeare, Sherman Alexie, Amanda Gorman, and others

The Diary of Anne Frank, play adapted from Anne Frank’s diary

Parts of four units from the Collections textbook: 

  • The Move Toward Freedom (non-fiction)
  • Horror
  • Culture and Belonging
  • Anne Frank’s Legacy