8th Grade English Lessons and Teaching Tips

In 8th grade, students begin to look more analytically at a text by exploring figurative language, point of view, story structure and themes. Use the following lessons and teaching strategies at home to reinforce what your 8th grader is learning in school.

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Lessons and Tips for Teaching 8th Graders


After your child reads a novel or short story in school, watch the movie adaptation at home and make comparisons. If necessary, provide extra structure by giving your child a visual aid, like a Venn diagram, to organize his thoughts. To help your child compare the two versions, ask specific questions, including:

How did the change affect the character's development?
Did the ending have the same impact as it did in the book?
Were the changes beneficial to the story?
Based on the descriptions in the book, was the setting accurate?
What changes would you have made?

Character Map

As your child reads a story, have him keep track of all the relationships by creating a character map. Write the main character's name in the center of a piece of paper. Then, write all the other characters' names around it. Use different colors to define each relationship. For instance, use red to denote a romantic relationship. If one character is jealous of another, you can use green. This lesson is especially beneficial for visual learners, but it can help all students think more analytically about character motivation.

Writing Prompts

In 8th grade, essays are expected to have a clearly written thesis, textual evidence and a formal tone. Help your child meet these expectations by providing writing practice at home. Each week, give your child a writing prompt that requires her to write either a persuasive, informative or narrative essay.

You may even incorporate writing into everyday situations. For instance, if your child wants to extend her bedtime an hour later, have her write an essay persuading you to make the change. When looking over her work, look for evidence, logical reasoning and an acknowledgment of the counterclaim.

Teaching Tips

To increase interest and motivation, help your child create a personal connection to the story. Does the main character remind her of anyone she knows? Has she ever been in a situation like the one in the story? Universal themes, like acceptance and independence, are great places to begin drawing parallels between the story and your child's personal life. In addition, show the application to the real world. Look for articles that parallel the story your child's reading, or have your child write her own book review and submit it to a magazine.

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