English 8 focuses on characters in various forms of literature and considers how these depictions help readers understand themselves as thinkers and individuals as they grow into adulthood. The curriculum transcends genre, so that students are exposed to “real” characters through biographical accounts, as well as “fictionalized” and “fantasy” characters in various novels. Students also read plays, short stories, newspaper articles, and interviews, and are guided through note taking, annotating text, and responding to literature throughout the writing process. Vocabulary and grammar lessons are drawn from daily reading but are also subjects of stand-alone lessons. During the year, students think about main ideas, sentence structure, paragraph formation, inference, imagery, and comparing and contrasting among other topics. Honors English 8 covers the same materials but in a much more in depth structure and presentation of the literature read.
The following is a representative list of books read in 8th Grade English classes: The Chosen; A Raisin in the Sun; The Hobbit; And Then There Were None; Animal Farm; The Alchemist