8th Grade EnglishHere is the list for our school's 8th grade English class:The Story of a Bad BoyThe Jungle BookThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeRobinson CrusoeAlice's Adventures in...

8th Grade English

Here is the list for our school's 8th grade English class:

The Story of a Bad Boy
The Jungle Book
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Robinson Crusoe
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
A Tale of Two Cities
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Henry V
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Montrose (biography)

This class also works through the 8th grade "Voyages in English" by Loyola Press.

17 Answers | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Glad I am not the only person who works in a school where Harry Potter is off limits! How frustrating! Really like the suggestions here, but a quick question, malibrarian, how do your Grade 8 students handle Twain's A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court? That was one of the ones that I was surprised at.

cybil's profile pic

cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Our eighth graders read Life Is Good (autobiography), Lord of the Flies, Julius Caesar, Ellen Foster, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Contender, and The Martian Chronicles. In recent years we have also used A Separate Peace, Light in the Forest, and Snow in August.

Mine is a boys school; students particularly enjoy Life Is Good, Lord of the Flies, ... well, everything except Caesar because it's their first experience with Shakespeare and Ellen Foster because the protagonist is female. By the time, however, they finish studying each of these last two, they love Caesar and tolerate Ellen.

cybil's profile pic

cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Our eighth graders read Life Is Good (autobiography), Lord of the Flies, Julius Caesar, Ellen Foster, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Contender, and The Martian Chronicles. In recent years we have also used A Separate Peace, Light in the Forest, and Snow in August. We also have an all-school read every year; in the past three years titles have included Life of Pi, A Walk in the Woods, and an abridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas' novel was a resounding success, even with the seventh and graders.

Mine is a boys school; students particularly enjoy Life Is Good, Lord of the Flies, ... well, everything except Caesar because it's their first experience with Shakespeare and Ellen Foster because the protagonist is female. By the time, however, they finish studying each of these last two, they love Caesar and tolerate Ellen.

cybil's profile pic

cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Our eighth graders read Life Is Good (autobiography), Lord of the Flies, Julius Caesar, Ellen Foster, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Contender, and The Martian Chronicles. In recent years we have also used A Separate Peace, Light in the Forest, and Snow in August.

Mine is a boys school; students particularly enjoy Life Is Good, Lord of the Flies, ... well, everything except Caesar because it's their first experience with Shakespeare and Ellen Foster because the protagonist is female. By the time, however, they finish studying each of these last two, they love Caesar and tolerate Ellen.

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I've had both problems.  It drives me crazy when I hand out a book and half the kids say, "We've already read that."  At our school it's currently total freedom, teach whatever you want, which is great, but when everyone teaches whatever they want it's hard to find things to teach because a lot of the kids already read it.  I am currently teaching a Middle Schools Honors English class, English 9, English 10, English 11, and AP Language (as part of English 11). 

This is what I'm going to attempt this year

MS Honors English - this class was just started in November.  I found out about it on a Friday and started teaching it on Monday!  The kids were placed in Honors based ONLY on their reading scores, which hasn't been a very positive experience for me.

  1. Johnny Tremain
  2. A Christmas Carol
  3. The Watsons Go to Birmingham
  4. Anne Frank
  5. Touching Spirit Bear
  6. Tom Sawyer
  7. I'm also going to do some kind of reading groups and I'll probably use The Art of Keeping Cool, Silent to the Bone, Tangerine, Under the Blood-Red Sun.

9th

  1. Romeo and Juliet
  2. Of Mice and Men
  3. The Outsiders (maybe - I would normally teach this to middle school kids, but these kids are a little immature)
  4. Huck Finn

10th

  1. Julius Caesar
  2. A Separate Peace
  3. Fahrenheit 451

11th

  1. The Crucible
  2. I did a Separate Peace with my Regular English 11 kids, while my AP kids read The Scarlet Letter
  3. Escape From Slavery
  4. Ella Minnow Pea (maybe just with AP)
  5. Great Gatsby
  6. Their Eyes Were Watching God (AP only)

I need to add something to 10th grade, haven't decided yet.  I teach at a private school, so unfortunately I'm a little limited on what I can teach.  I had a parent really upset with me for teaching Of Mice and Men.  Next year I will probably add To Kill a Mockingbird to the freshmen list, but this year's kids had already read it in 8th grade. 

  Do you think you could get away with Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye?  It would be a great contrast to what you already have listed.

mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I've had both problems.  It drives me crazy when I hand out a book and half the kids say, "We've already read that."  At our school it's currently total freedom, teach whatever you want, which is great, but when everyone teaches whatever they want it's hard to find things to teach because a lot of the kids already read it.  I am currently teaching a Middle Schools Honors English class, English 9, English 10, English 11, and AP Language (as part of English 11). 

This is what I'm going to attempt this year

MS Honors English - this class was just started in November.  I found out about it on a Friday and started teaching it on Monday!  The kids were placed in Honors based ONLY on their reading scores, which hasn't been a very positive experience for me.

  1. Johnny Tremain
  2. A Christmas Carol
  3. The Watsons Go to Birmingham
  4. Anne Frank
  5. Touching Spirit Bear
  6. Tom Sawyer
  7. I'm also going to do some kind of reading groups and I'll probably use The Art of Keeping Cool, Silent to the Bone, Tangerine, Under the Blood-Red Sun.

9th

  1. Romeo and Juliet
  2. Of Mice and Men
  3. The Outsiders (maybe - I would normally teach this to middle school kids, but these kids are a little immature)
  4. Huck Finn

10th

  1. Julius Caesar
  2. A Separate Peace
  3. Fahrenheit 451

11th

  1. The Crucible
  2. I did a Separate Peace with my Regular English 11 kids, while my AP kids read The Scarlet Letter
  3. Escape From Slavery
  4. Ella Minnow Pea (maybe just with AP)
  5. Great Gatsby
  6. Their Eyes Were Watching God (AP only)

I need to add something to 10th grade, haven't decided yet.  I teach at a private school, so unfortunately I'm a little limited on what I can teach.  I had a parent really upset with me for teaching Of Mice and Men.  Next year I will probably add To Kill a Mockingbird to the freshmen list, but this year's kids had already read it in 8th grade. 

If you're able to at your school, I would suggest using Edith Hamilton's Mythology with your 10th graders.  We use it with our freshmen here (tandem unit with the Odyssey), but I imagine it would have the same affect with 10th graders.  The kids love it - especially when you can tie in modern references to the various gods.

If not, The Good Earth or Grapes of Wrath are other possiblities.  I use Grapes of Wrath right now with my sophomores, and they always seem to enjoy it (once you get them to look past how thick the novel is!).

asorrell's profile pic

asorrell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I've had both problems.  It drives me crazy when I hand out a book and half the kids say, "We've already read that."  At our school it's currently total freedom, teach whatever you want, which is great, but when everyone teaches whatever they want it's hard to find things to teach because a lot of the kids already read it.  I am currently teaching a Middle Schools Honors English class, English 9, English 10, English 11, and AP Language (as part of English 11). 

This is what I'm going to attempt this year

MS Honors English - this class was just started in November.  I found out about it on a Friday and started teaching it on Monday!  The kids were placed in Honors based ONLY on their reading scores, which hasn't been a very positive experience for me.

  1. Johnny Tremain
  2. A Christmas Carol
  3. The Watsons Go to Birmingham
  4. Anne Frank
  5. Touching Spirit Bear
  6. Tom Sawyer
  7. I'm also going to do some kind of reading groups and I'll probably use The Art of Keeping Cool, Silent to the Bone, Tangerine, Under the Blood-Red Sun.

9th

  1. Romeo and Juliet
  2. Of Mice and Men
  3. The Outsiders (maybe - I would normally teach this to middle school kids, but these kids are a little immature)
  4. Huck Finn

10th

  1. Julius Caesar
  2. A Separate Peace
  3. Fahrenheit 451

11th

  1. The Crucible
  2. I did a Separate Peace with my Regular English 11 kids, while my AP kids read The Scarlet Letter
  3. Escape From Slavery
  4. Ella Minnow Pea (maybe just with AP)
  5. Great Gatsby
  6. Their Eyes Were Watching God (AP only)

I need to add something to 10th grade, haven't decided yet.  I teach at a private school, so unfortunately I'm a little limited on what I can teach.  I had a parent really upset with me for teaching Of Mice and Men.  Next year I will probably add To Kill a Mockingbird to the freshmen list, but this year's kids had already read it in 8th grade. 

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

In reply to # 8: I can't teach any of the Harry Potter books because they deal with sorcery. The kids gobble them up as soon as they're published, but we don't dare teach them! I was able to persuade the keeper of our protected reading list to add Eragon to the 8th grade books, but I don't think she realizes it deals in magic too.

You guys are so wonderful!  I love these suggestions as I have been trying, oh so carefully, to improve the reading lists of our English classes since being appointed Dept. Chair.  The 8th English list was one that I struggled with since taking on that class - I just couldn't believe some of the books they were having these kids read.  Not that the kids don't understand them - just that some are so painfully dry to get through.

Okay, I do have a confession to make, though - I was the culprit who added "A Tale of Two Cities"!  Yes, let the stoning begin! :)  I read that book in 6th grade after getting it for Christmas that year, and I instantly fell in love with it and Charles Dickens.  I originally put it on the 7th grade reading list, but the kids really struggled, so I bumped it up to 8th - but I can't believe not everyone loves the book like I do! :)

No, at this time our curriculums are not connected with the history department, but that is something I'd love to work on.  At our school, students in 9th grade have American Lit for English and Geography for history, while 10th grade has British Lit and U.S. History II.  I'd really rather see the kids in 10th grade have both American Lit and U.S. History II as there are so many possibilities with combining units like sullymonster mentioned above (love your name, by the way!)! :)

This is great, everyone! Let's keep it going! :)

I'm in a small school, so there is very little cohesion between classes (I can't really call them departments when it's just one teacher per!).  I would like to see us tie our novel study more directly into what's happening in history classes, but it's just never been done (something I'm slowly making a push for, though - cross your fingers that our board loves the word "stipend!").  I think some novels lend themselves very naturally to historical study, like TKAM and OMAM.  It just takes the time for teachers to be able to sit down and plan it out.

I can't teach Red Badge because it's on our 11th grade reading list, which is precious and set in stone.

The way this protected list was developed stinks. A bunch of the veteran English teachers got together and talked about how they resent starting a novel and having the students say that they had already studied it in another class. So these virtuous few made lists of what they teach and told the rest of us to keep our hands off--unless, of course, we were teaching the same grade level.

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

In response to #7 - Could you have the 8th graders read The Red Badge of Courage for the Civil War?  It's definitely at a higher level than Across Five Aprils, though I wouldn't say it's necessarily going to capture their interests as well.  Just might be more challenging for them.

#8 - I would LOVE to use a Harry Potter book, but we would have kids pulled out of our school if I did that.  So even though our headmaster and his family love the books, we're still such a small school that we can't afford to lose families over book choices at this point.  It makes me sad, too, because I see so much value, so many good themes in that series of books, and to hear people bash on these books that they've never even read really ticks me off.  But great suggestion!!!

mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

You guys are so wonderful!  I love these suggestions as I have been trying, oh so carefully, to improve the reading lists of our English classes since being appointed Dept. Chair.  The 8th English list was one that I struggled with since taking on that class - I just couldn't believe some of the books they were having these kids read.  Not that the kids don't understand them - just that some are so painfully dry to get through.

Okay, I do have a confession to make, though - I was the culprit who added "A Tale of Two Cities"!  Yes, let the stoning begin! :)  I read that book in 6th grade after getting it for Christmas that year, and I instantly fell in love with it and Charles Dickens.  I originally put it on the 7th grade reading list, but the kids really struggled, so I bumped it up to 8th - but I can't believe not everyone loves the book like I do! :)

No, at this time our curriculums are not connected with the history department, but that is something I'd love to work on.  At our school, students in 9th grade have American Lit for English and Geography for history, while 10th grade has British Lit and U.S. History II.  I'd really rather see the kids in 10th grade have both American Lit and U.S. History II as there are so many possibilities with combining units like sullymonster mentioned above (love your name, by the way!)! :)

This is great, everyone! Let's keep it going! :)

I'm in a small school, so there is very little cohesion between classes (I can't really call them departments when it's just one teacher per!).  I would like to see us tie our novel study more directly into what's happening in history classes, but it's just never been done (something I'm slowly making a push for, though - cross your fingers that our board loves the word "stipend!").  I think some novels lend themselves very naturally to historical study, like TKAM and OMAM.  It just takes the time for teachers to be able to sit down and plan it out.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What about Harry Potter?  I know that the series may never reach "classic" status, but it does deal with issues very relevant to today:  teacher and student relationships, good vs. evil, the underdog kid, friendships, tolerance of differences, academic responsibility, family relationships...just to name a few off the top of my head.  Talk about a wonderful lead into film and media...pull in lighting angles and music, use of panning or portrait shots.  It could be a wonderful and memorable middle school project.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

You guys are so wonderful!  I love these suggestions as I have been trying, oh so carefully, to improve the reading lists of our English classes since being appointed Dept. Chair.  The 8th English list was one that I struggled with since taking on that class - I just couldn't believe some of the books they were having these kids read.  Not that the kids don't understand them - just that some are so painfully dry to get through.

Okay, I do have a confession to make, though - I was the culprit who added "A Tale of Two Cities"!  Yes, let the stoning begin! :)  I read that book in 6th grade after getting it for Christmas that year, and I instantly fell in love with it and Charles Dickens.  I originally put it on the 7th grade reading list, but the kids really struggled, so I bumped it up to 8th - but I can't believe not everyone loves the book like I do! :)

No, at this time our curriculums are not connected with the history department, but that is something I'd love to work on.  At our school, students in 9th grade have American Lit for English and Geography for history, while 10th grade has British Lit and U.S. History II.  I'd really rather see the kids in 10th grade have both American Lit and U.S. History II as there are so many possibilities with combining units like sullymonster mentioned above (love your name, by the way!)! :)

This is great, everyone! Let's keep it going! :)

Bless you for putting in writing what I've been thinking. Our reading lists are BORING!!!

My district does try to align 8th grade reading and history, so we cover the Civil War and WWII in both subjects. The novel we can use for the Civil War is Across Five Aprils, and the novel for WWII is Night--one book is too simple for 8th grade and the other way too advanced.

Please tell me how many kids today can identify with the characters in The Outsiders! It was fresh and new when I was in high school. Sure, some themes and issues are timeless, and we still have problems with gangs. But this is just too dated.

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

You guys are so wonderful!  I love these suggestions as I have been trying, oh so carefully, to improve the reading lists of our English classes since being appointed Dept. Chair.  The 8th English list was one that I struggled with since taking on that class - I just couldn't believe some of the books they were having these kids read.  Not that the kids don't understand them - just that some are so painfully dry to get through.

Okay, I do have a confession to make, though - I was the culprit who added "A Tale of Two Cities"!  Yes, let the stoning begin! :)  I read that book in 6th grade after getting it for Christmas that year, and I instantly fell in love with it and Charles Dickens.  I originally put it on the 7th grade reading list, but the kids really struggled, so I bumped it up to 8th - but I can't believe not everyone loves the book like I do! :)

No, at this time our curriculums are not connected with the history department, but that is something I'd love to work on.  At our school, students in 9th grade have American Lit for English and Geography for history, while 10th grade has British Lit and U.S. History II.  I'd really rather see the kids in 10th grade have both American Lit and U.S. History II as there are so many possibilities with combining units like sullymonster mentioned above (love your name, by the way!)! :)

This is great, everyone! Let's keep it going! :)

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Is the curriculum at all connected with the history curriculum?  Our middle school does a good WWII unit in the 8th grade and uses Diary of Anne Frank and/or Night.  The Chocolate War by Corimer and Pigman also seem popular with the kids. 

mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

The few years I taught 8th grade English, we had some fun with novel study.  The three we studied were A Wrinkle in Time, The Hobbit and Lord of the Flies.  I admit that WIT is a little low level for 8th graders, but we used it as genre study and introduction to multimedia (I always had the students make their own movie following the reading of the novel - something we did as a class project in the middle of the March doldrums...).

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