Eighth Grade Literacy | 123Read&Write

As our nation’s workforce increases in its demands for highly literate workers, it’s more important now than ever before, to make sure our teenagers are able to read, comprehend, and analyze text at a highly proficient level.  As the economy becomes more knowledge based, an individual’s literacy level must be at higher levels to be societal contributors. A child’s literacy development has a direct correlation to their future successes in adulthood. Unfortunately, over 50% of our nation’s secondary level students have difficulties with comprehending the written word. However, with practice and encouraged development, adolescent literacy levels can and will improve. 

The activities presented with the Eighth Grade Literacy 123Read&Write comprehension units utilize different strategies to help promote growth in oral language comprehension, vocabulary building, and higher level thinking activities, including the analyzing and synthesizing of text. 

Narrative Text Units

Listed below 123Read&Write presents a comprehensive literary unit guides to coincide with educational standards to promote the development of adolescent literacy. More are soon to come! 

The Diary of Anne Frank

Interest Level: Grades 6 - 12 

Reading Level: 5.9

The play of The Diary of Anne Frank offers the story of Anne Frank and the two years she spent in hiding from the Nazi regime, during World War II. During these years, Anne along with her family, the Van Daans, and Mr. Dussel, all live in fear; all the while hoping beyond all hope for liberation. Unfortunately, they are all found and sent out to different concentration camps. In the end, the lone survivor, Mr. Frank returns to their former attic, finding Anne’s diary, thereby, sharing with the world the words of this brave and beautiful girl.

Ender’s Game

Interest Level: Grades 8 - 12

Reading Level: 9.0

The science fiction novel, Ender's Gameis written by Orson Scott Card. The story’s main setting is in Earth's future, as the novel presents a troubled mankind after military conflicts with the "Buggers", an alien species. Earth’s main hope is an intelligent young boy, Andrew "Ender” Wiggin who lives with his kind but distant parents, his evil mannered brother Peter, and the sister he adores more than anyone else, his sister Valentine.


Interest Level: Teenager and Up

Reading Level: 12.4

The famous Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark was written by William Shakespeare. This epic story (and Hamlet’s longest play) is set in the Kingdom of Denmark and focuses on young Prince Hamlet’s quest for revenge against his uncle Claudius. After Hamlet’s father (King Hamlet) is murdered by his uncle, young Hamlet begins a downward spiral to avenge his father’s death, slowly spiraling into complete madness.

                                                                 Flowers for Algernon

Interest Level: 8 - 12

Reading Level: 5.9

The short science fiction story, Flowers for Algernon, is written by Daniel Keyes. Algernon is a laboratory mouse who has been tested upon to increase his intelligence. The story is told in a series of progress reports, by main protagonist Charlie Gordon, who undergoes the same procedure.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Interest Level: 8 - 12

Reading Level: 9

The Tell-Tale Heart is a short piece of literature by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1843. The story is told in the first person point of view, by an unnamed narrator who attempts to convince the reader that he is completely sane, while going into detail regarding a murder he has committed.

Lord of the Flies

Interest Level: 8 - 12

Reading Level: 8.1

The classic piece of literature, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding is a dystopian novel focusing on a group of stranded British boys, trapped on an uninhabited island. The story focuses on survival as the boys attempt to govern themselves with unfortunate and violent results.

Expository Text


Historians call it the end of the Industrial Revolution, but in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, the great loss of human life would make it much more than a mark in history. For the past few years, I've ended our 8th grade English class with the topic of Titanic. The students work through various activities related to "making learning visible” techniques, and a unique writing assignment

Not Man, Nor Beast by Scott Tinley

This innovative expository lesson plan focuses on an editorial article by Scott Tinley entitled Not Man, Nor Beast. The students worked with text information and graphic organizers to discover the essence of the article.

Choking the Oceans with Plastic by Charles J. Mooreaug

This innovative expository lesson plan focuses on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Also known as the Pacific Trash Vortex, this gyre of plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris is literally choking the Pacific Ocean and endangering all who inhabit her waters. 

Train Your Brain to Excel Under Pressure by Megan Johnson

This simplistic, yet thought challenging expository lesson for middle school students looks at ways the human brain reacts under pressure.

Earth Song Expository Learning Visible Activity

Taking learning to a higher level, this expository lesson utilizes visible learning techniques (Making Thinking Visible by Ritchhart, Morrison & Church (Spring 2011), which allow the students to think at higher levels to investigate current issues harming our planet. 

The Titanic Expository Learning and Writing Activities

As with any teacher, you're always looking for a way to make learning fun, relevant, and come to life. When June rolls around, I know it's time for me to bring out my "greatest hits" to keep the student's engaged in learning, when their minds are on Summer vacation! For the past few years, I've ended our 8th grade English class with the topic of Titanic. The students work through various activities related to "making learning visible” techniques, and a unique writing assignment.

We Didn’t Start the Fire

The song, We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel depicts an intense illustration and allusion to over 100 headline events between January 1949 and 1989. Based on the song’s lyrical content, my students chose one of the eras to investigate. Their goal was to first try and find a primary source regarding the event or person mentioned. If that was not possible, they moved onto a secondary or tertiary source to include in their scrapbook.

A to Z Autism Gallery Walk (Visible Learning)

My students investigated and researched many areas regarding autism. All of their work was put on display at the local Barnes and Noble bookstore to raise money and awareness for Retts Syndrome.

Making Learning Come Alive with Visualization Activities

While my students were working with nonfiction text, they utilized various “Making Learning Visible” activities to bring the expository text to life. By choosing an article of interest from a Smithsonian magazine, in small groups, the students worked with visualization and discussion techniques to bring high level text to life.