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literature & composition class for 8th graders

Intro to Lit & Comp

The Fine Print

Course Goals

  • Read novels, plays, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction for enjoyment and to improve critical reading skillfulness

  • Engage in informal (discussion forums), instructional (parts-to-whole practice), and formal (essay) writing

  • Hone the expression of ideas to demonstrate clarity, coherence, and perceptiveness

  • Learn and practice several types of writing, including expository, compare and contrast, persuasive, and literary analysis essays

  • Collect research sources, scrutinizing the credibility of websites and writers

  • Receive incremental writing instruction with detailed, individual feedback

  • Construct and refine the parts of an essay, practicing and then applying learning to 4- or 5-paragraph essays

  • Learn and apply basic formatting and citation conventions in accordance with the newest MLA 9 guidelines

  • Fine tune grammar through workbook practice and editing

  • Learn and apply new vocabulary in a variety of ways

  • Engage in active discussions each week—both guided and student-led—on topics relating to the week's reading and writing

  • Offer and receive helpful and positive peer feedback on writing forums

Course Details​

  • There is a reading assignment and a very small writing task over the summer. (See the Course Resources list).

Course Resources

Core Texts and Materials:



  • Animal Farm, George Orwell

  • Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Verne (William Butcher translation)

  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

  • The Call of the Wild, Jack London

  • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

  • The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare (any edition; side-by-side original + modern rendering is fine, but your copy must include the original text)

  • The Miracle Worker, William Gibson

  • The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane

Summer Reading

Students will be asked to choose a book from this list to read over the summer:

  • The Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien

  • Holes, Louis Sachar

  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding

  • Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand

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