Middle School English Language Arts

The mission of the English Language Arts Program in Andover’s Middle Schools is to build strong readers, effective writers and presenters, and critical and creative thinkers in our collaborative and engaging classrooms.  At each of the grade levels literature has been chosen reflecting a particular theme, and writing assignments and projects are developed around the text sets used in each grade.  An integrated approach to writing instruction includes skill building and practice and authentic opportunities to write for varied purposes and audiences.  Students will learn to write with greater depth and clarity throughout their middle school years.

Teachers and students are involved with interdisciplinary project based learning on their teams and across teams, and in partnering with teachers in the Arts and World Languages.  A growing number of students and teachers have participated in work with the New England Arts for Literacy grant to engage in deep and meaningful experiential learning.   Additionally, all students participate in our Summer Reading Initiative.

Grade 6


The umbrella theme for sixth grade literature choices  is the “the power of the individual.”  Students will read engaging literature selections that support the development of reading for meaning and reading to foster belief in oneself.  They will continue to develop active reading strategies and learn to use outside resources. Core titles include The Cay and Holes, and commonly taught books are Stargirl, Hatchet, Esperanza Rising,  and The Miracle Worker.   Students also read a variety of short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction selections.

Grade 7


The seventh grade literature theme is “the journey.”  Students will continue to develop reading strategies for understanding, and through exposure to real life themes they will strengthen their reading and analytical skills. Students will begin to recognize themes and literary elements that are common to various genres.  Core titles include Ulysses, A Christmas Carol, Hoot, and Seedfolk. Students also read a variety of short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction selections.

Grade 8


The eighth grade theme is “the evolution of identity.” Students read increasingly complex texts during their final year of Middle School. Exposure to real life themes and issues is an important element of the literature choices but always in the context of hopeful literature. Students will be pushed to make significant gains in their ability to develop an enlarged understanding of what they read and should themselves be able to recognize their growing ability to handle challenging literature. The Giver, To Kill A Mockingbird, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are core titles; and Out of the Dust and Escape from Camp 14  are commonly used pieces.  Students also read a variety of short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction selections.