The Guide to 8th Grade: Reading and Writing

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In their last year of middle school, 8th graders immerse themselves in preparation for high school by practicing and strengthening skills they learned in earlier years of middle school while also learning new (and often more complex) skills.

In many ways, 8th grade is a year of transition, as students are expected to have mastered the ways of middle school and begin becoming “high-schoolers.” Specifically, 8th graders are expected to be independent thinkers and workers analyzing and explaining what they learn in both their writing and verbally. 

8th Grade Reading

In 8th grade, students continue to practice many of the skills they learned in earlier grades, specifically paying attention to details like text evidence, language, and cross-text comparisons in different genres of text. However, 8th graders push their analyses of texts further as they examine the details and writing structure and assess how those elements affect the text. 

In order to build reading skills, your 8th grader:

  • Evaluates the evidence in texts to determine the strongest supports of an idea and analysis.
  • Determines the main idea or theme of a text using evidence from the text to support it.
  • Provides an objective summary of a text.
  • Understands, summarizes, and tracks the progress of the main idea of a text, using evidence from the text.
  • Analyzes how elements such as specific dialogue, events, or word usage impact the characters, the decisions they make, and other events and actions in the text.
  • Understands the use of language in a text, including figurative language, analogies, and allusions to other texts.
  • Compares and contrasts the different structures of texts including the structures of paragraphs and sentences.
  • Analyzes the difference between characters’ points of view and how these differences affect the text.
  • Analyzes the pros and cons of using different forms of text and media to present a topic or idea.
  • Compares a text to a film or play version of a text, paying specific attention to the way in which the film or play veers from the text.
  • Analyzes texts that include conflicting information on the same topic and decipher when those are due to conflicting facts or interpretations.
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8th Grade Writing

In 8th grade, students continue to practice and refine many of the writing skills they learned in 7th grade while also learning some additional complex writing skills. Given that refining one’s writing can take time and practice, students are not expected to cover a great deal of new skills. However, they do learn some new techniques and skills that enhance their writing and enable them to become better writers.

In order to build writing skills, your 8th grader:

  • Writes arguments that present clear reasons and relevant evidence and include:
    • Introductions
    • Acknowledgements of opposing claims
    • Logical and orderly presentation of reasons and evidence
    • Graphics, special formatting, and multimedia, when appropriate
    • Support of the claims through the use of evidence from credible sources
    • A concluding sentence or paragraph that supports the argument made
    • A formal tone and style
  • Writes structured and well-organized opinion, research, and informative pieces that:
    • Use supporting claims and evidence based on credible texts and resources
    • Provide an introduction that includes an explanation of what follows
    • Develop topics through the use of facts, details, quotations, examples, and subject-specific terms and definitions
    • Include transitions that connect concepts, events, and paragraphs
    • Include a conclusion that supports the presented idea(s)
    • Maintain a formal “essay type” style
    • Integrate other forms of media and formats such as graphs, charts, headings, audio, or video when appropriate
  • Writes well-structured narratives (both true and fiction) that include:
    • A narrator, characters, and a point of view
    • Descriptive detail and sensory language to describe characters, settings, and experiences
    • Dialogue, pacing, reflection, and details and descriptions of characters, setting, and experiences
    • Thought-out word choice
    • A clear structure with a logical order and flow, as shown through the use of transition words and phrases and a logical sequence
    • A conclusion that is connected to and builds on the narrative
  • Plans, revises, and edits writing, specifically with guidance from teachers and peers, focusing specifically on trying new approaches and making sure the writing has a purpose and appeals to its audience.
  • Uses technology and the Internet to produce and publish writing, work with others, and cite sources.
  • Works on multiple short research projects that answer specific questions and cite multiple sources, while gathering additional questions for later research.
  • Uses both print and digital resources to conduct research, focusing on using appropriate search terms and reliable sources.
  • Uses quotes and a standard format for citation.
  • Uses research to analyze and make inferences.
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Shop the best resources for seventh grade below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store

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