⋅ Language Arts - 8


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Language Arts - 8 - Parent/Community Course Guide

Adopted by Board of School Directors on February 2023
Grade Levels

Course Description

All eighth grade English students continue to develop reading, writing, thinking, speaking, and listening skills through the study of various literary forms: short stories, essays, plays, poems, novels, and non-fiction within major thematic units. The course builds on skills learned in seventh grade so that students are prepared to write in the narrative, expository/informational, and persuasive/argumentative modes in paragraphs, multi-paragraph essays, and research papers. To help students understand and use words effectively, the course will follow a systematic approach to grammar study and will examine vocabulary in context of literature. This course will prepare students for the PSSA exams.


Unit #1 - Short Fiction
Unit #2 - Text Structure
Unit #3 - Reading Strategies with a Novel
Unit #4 - Literary Elements with a Novel
Unit #5 - Making Text Connections (Choice Novel)
Unit #6 - Vocabulary
Unit #7 - Grammar and Usage
Unit #8 - Effective Communication
Unit #9 - Research Strategies
Unit #10 - Narrative Writing
Unit #11 - Expository Writing

Course Resources


Text: 18 Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

-"Hop Frog"

-"The Raven"

-"Annabel Lee"

-Read Magazine "The Fall of the House of Usher" play

Non-fiction articles on Poe's life and death

Sherlock Holmes stories:

"The Adventures of the Speckled Band"

"Silver Blaze"


  • "The Lottery"
  • "The Bus Ride"
  • "The Last Answer"
  • "Fetch"
  • "The Stroke of Twelve"
  • A&E Poe Biography
  • "Hound of the Baskervilles" VHS
  • Other stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe such as "Alone" "Dream Within a Dream," and "Conquorer Worm"


Text: Raisin in the Sun
Brown Girl Dreaming (excerpts used for extension activities)
March: Book One (excerpts used for extension activities)


  • "I Have a Dream"
  • Kids Discover:Civil Rights (magazine)
  • Kids Discover:Martin Luther King (magazine)
  • Teaching Tolerance Teaching Kit and DVDs
  • The Ernest Green Story
  • "It Happened Here" article
  • Langston Hughes poetry


Text: The Giver by Lois Lowry

-Lois Lowry Newbery Acceptance Speech


  • "Harrison Bergeron"
  • "The Lottery"
  • "Jeremiah's Song"
  • "The Pedestrian"
  • "Old Glory"
  • "The Speeders"
  • The Truman Show DVD (excerpts)


Text: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

"Nothing Gold Can Stay" and other poems by Robert Frost

The Outsiders DVD


  • Teacher selected poetry
  • Dateline Video segment "Lords of Chaos" from "Schools Under Siege: Stopping the Violence." Dateline. NBC, 25 September 1998.


  • TED.com
  • AmericanRhetoric.com