6-8 English Language Arts Overview
Instruction in grades 6-8 addresses students’ increasing maturity and the growing sophistication of their abilities, culminating in the development by the end of grade 8 of students who are ready to succeed in high school. Students should be able to comprehend more challenging books and articles, basing all of their analyses, inferences, and claims on explicit and relevant evidence from the texts. Students will expand on their ability to identify central ideas by identifying how those themes are shaped and conveyed by particular details. Their analysis of basic literary elements will extend to identifying connections and complexities within narratives and how individual elements weave together to advance plot and reveal character. The evaluation of the impact of language on tone and meaning will begin to include more sophisticated concepts such as analogy and allusion, subtleties in point of view such as dramatic irony, and a more sophisticated appreciation for connotative diction. These skills will be incorporated into the students’ own narrative and expository writing. Students will become increasingly adept at understanding an author’s biases, the use of complex rhetorical devices including logical fallacies, and tailoring his or her own prose for maximum influence. While continuing with a variety of literary non-fiction, students in grades 6-8 will begin to tackle more technical informational texts as well. Literary selections will include foundational materials from mythology, cultural histories, and religious traditions. Text complexity levels are assessed based upon a variety of indicators.
The 6-8 Standards are organized in the following Domains and Strands and include identical categories across grades. Use the blue box on the right to locate the full text of the standards for each grade level.
Reading for Literature (RL)
Key Ideas and Details: RL1, RL2, RL3
Craft and Structure: RL4, RL5, RL6
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: RL7, RL9
Range of Reading/Text Complexity: RL10
Reading for Information (RI)
Key Ideas and Details: RI1, RI2, RI3
Craft and Structure: RI4, RI5, RI6
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: RI7, RI8, RI9
Range of Reading/Text Complexity: RI10
Text Types and Purposes: W1, W2, W3
Production/Distribution: W4, W5, W6
Research/Present Knowledge: W7, W8, W9
Range of Writing: W10
Speaking and Listening (SL)
Comprehension and Collaboration: SL1, SL2, SL3
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: SL4, SL5, SL6
Conventions of Standard English: L1, L2
Knowledge of Language: L3
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: L4, L5, L6
Students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards, retain or further develop skills and understandings mastered in preceding grades, and work steadily toward meeting the more general expectations described by the Standards. Although the Standards are divided into Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language strands for conceptual clarity, the processes of communication are closely connected. For example the Writing Standards require that students write about what they read. Likewise, Speaking and Listening includes the necessity of presenting findings from research. The Standards by grade level and band provide useful specificity but allow schools and districts flexibility in course design. Teachers are free to provide students with whatever tools and knowledge their professional judgment and experience identify as most helpful for meeting the goals set out in the Standards.