Academic Program
Middle School

English and World Literature

English and World Literature

The Middle School English and World Literature curriculum emphasizes that imagination, empathy, creativity, and curiosity are nourished through the study of literature. 
The curriculum fosters the growth of skills in both close reading and clear writing through focused study of a variety of literary forms, such as the novel, short stories, epic, drama, and poetry. Students learn to identify themes and to research background material relevant to what they read, informing their greater understanding of the world. They also learn the elements of powerful, accurate writing. With foundational and calibrated lessons in grammar and vocabulary, and through imitative and creative writing projects, students learn that writing is a process of discovery, a means of communication and a creative art. 

Middle School English and World Literature Curriculum

List of 4 items.

  • Grade 5: Tricksters and Heroes

    English 5 is designed to tap into the students’ love of reading, writing, and experiential learning, channeling their torrential curiosity into the study of specific texts and genres, including the magical realist novel, the folk tale, memoir, narrative and lyric poetry, the ethical debate speech, the graphic novel, historical fiction and dystopian fiction. In both reading and writing, students pay particular attention to characterization, setting and figurative language. Students write many kinds of stories and poems as well as other imaginative pieces. Students also learn to write expository paragraphs that discuss inferences, representative figures and other ideas with textual support. Group and individual grammar instruction comes through lessons, practice in a workbook, and directed revision. Vocabulary is culled from the texts; students will keep a “word farm” of index cards where they can cultivate branching phrases and from which they can pluck language for their writing. Works studied include Skellig; an anthology of memoirs that includes age-appropriate excerpts of 
    A Day of Pleasure; Soldier; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; This One Summer; Everything Comes Next; The People Could Fly; an anthology of poems, including excerpts of The Book of Questions and Songs of Innocence and Experience; One Crazy Summer; and The Giver.
  • Grade 6: Realizing Home

    Grade 6 English begins with a study of The Odyssey and Gilgamesh (middle reader editions), introducing students to classic works of literature, the theme of the hero’s journey and questions about individual freedom and responsibility. In the winter, we turn to speeches and poetry, focusing on the power of language and the effect of specific rhetorical and literary devices. Students analyze diction, metaphor, imagery, sound, and tone in the literature and learn to concentrate on word choice and figurative language in their own writing. After spring break, students apply their close reading skills to Animal Farm, Almost American Girl, and Born a Crime, texts that return us to questions of freedom and responsibility. As writers, students tell their own stories in personal and creative pieces and express their ideas about the literature in expository paragraphs. The study of vocabulary and grammar forms an integral part of the curriculum, allowing students to articulate their observations with greater accuracy and specificity. 
  • Grade 7: The World We Inherit, The World We Create and The World We Imagine

    This course explores the theme of "The World We Inherit, The World We Create and The World We Imagine" through texts that capture our attention, challenge our perspectives, inspire our creativity and cultivate deeper thinking about what it means to control our own stories. Our units are designed around the following texts: The Hobbit, My Antonia, Before We Were Free, A Midsummer Night's Dream and a literature circles unit with choice reading featuring Fahrenheit 451, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Kira-Kira and The Last Cuentista. Through assigned tasks and projects, guiding questions and specific expectations, we will collaboratively deepen our understanding of literature. Students will write analytical paragraphs, creative pieces and personal narratives emphasizing imitation as inspiration. In-class workshops will give practice to writing with detail, description, explanation and specificity when speaking and writing. Grammar and vocabulary work is designed to help you express your increasingly complex thoughts and creativity.
  • Grade 8: The Family and the Self

    In this course students study a number of classic coming of age stories that offer different perspectives on growing up. As we read The House on Mango Street, Romeo and Juliet, Go Tell it on the Mountain, and Jane Eyre we explore how forces outside the self— society, race, class, culture and family—affect the ways we define ourselves. Students practice expository writing in paragraphs and essays and develop their narrative voice through personal stories. Grammar and vocabulary work help students to express their increasingly complex thoughts in precise, controlled sentences.

Explore Our Curriculum

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