Middle School Language Arts

Instructional Interventions for Struggling Readers
Read 180 Link opens in new   window
System 44 Link opens in new   window
Reading Apprenticeship

A Balanced Literacy Framework

Reading Instruction

Students in grades 6 through 8 receive literacy instruction within a balanced literacy framework.  Effective reading practices are modeled across a continuum of instruction, which provides a gradual release of responsibility from teacher to student.  These models include:

Reading Aloud
The teacher reads text aloud to students to model and support aesthetic understanding (appreciation of text and craft), efferent understanding (reading to obtain information), word solving (using morphology or context clues to solve unknown words or phrases), and fluency.

Shared Reading:
The teacher reads aloud and models effective thinking and word-solving techniques while students have a copy of the text.

Independent Reading:
Students read text independently based on choice or assignment of specific genres, subjects, or authors.

Small Group Reading Instruction:
Small group instruction occurs within guided groups in which students read within State of Michigan Grade Level Content Expectation (GLCE) genres differentiated to instructional reading level.  Small group instruction also occurs within heterogeneously configured literature discussion groups.

District Genre Study Units are listed in the following chart:

6th grade

7th grade

8th grade

Adventure Unit

Mystery Unit

Historical Fiction Unit

The Hero

Boys of San Joaquin

Boy in Striped Pajamas

Touching Spirit Bear

Down the Rabbit Hole

Elijah of Buxton

Music of the Dolphins

Sammy Keyes

Code Talker




Fantasy Unit

Poetry Unit**

Science Fiction Unit

Artemis Fowl

Make Lemonade

Enchantress from the Stars

Dark Hills Divide

Out of the Dust


A Wrinkle in Time

Home of the Brave

Last Universe

The SRI (Scholastic Reading Assessment) is used to administer a pre and post assessment of reading proficiency for each student in the Ann Arbor Public Schools in grades 5 through 12.  You can learn more about the SRI at the following link:

http://www.a2schools.org/aaps/ins.tech_sri/scholastic_reading_inventory Link opens in new  window

Students who read below grade level proficiency standards may be placed in READ180 or System 44 at the middle school grades.  These programs have proven highly effective, both nationally and within our district, for developing reading proficiency that is necessary for academic success in high school and beyond.  You can learn more about these programs at the following link:

http://www.a2schools.org/aaps/ins.technology/read_180 Link opens in new  window

The focus for reading instruction in the middle school grades includes:

  • Skilled reading across multiple genres
  • Maintaining capacity for interaction with text over extended periods of time
  • Literary analysis
  • Reading for learning within the content areas
  • Reading for critical thinking and values-clarification
  • Word solving for context and morphological understanding
  • Reading from an aesthetic stance, i.e., appreciation and enjoyment
  • Reading from an efferent stance, i.e., to obtain information

To find out more about state and district standards for middle school reading and writing achievement the following links are provided:

The Writer's Workshop

Students in Grades 6-8 alternate between reading and writing instruction.  The district model for writing instruction is the writer's workshop.  This instructional period begins with a brief period of whole-class instruction known as a mini-lesson.  An extended period of writing follows during which the teacher confers with individuals or small groups of students in order to deliver specific and "just in time" instruction.  A short period of sharing and reflection connect and articulate learning across whole-group, small-group, and individualized formats. 

In a year-long sequence of instruction students are taught general strategies for effective writing as well as specific features for the genres they are learning to write in.  Instruction is divided into units of study in which clear examples of effective writing are modeled.  Students are led through phases of pre-writing, drafting, revising, publishing, and assessment.  Middle School writing genres include; personal narrative, poetry, feature article, report writing, fiction, and persuasive essay.  A literacy capstone project is taught collaboratively with Social Studies teachers and Media Specialists in order to integrate instruction toward standards within these three domains.

Middle school students also use the MyAccess online writing program.  This instructional tool provides research links, graphic organizers and other supports for prewriting, editing, and revision.  Students are given automatic feedback for their writing within five domains, including scores on a scale from 1 - 6 for each domain as well as specific editing and revision advise for raising their score.  You can learn more about MyAccess in the Ann Arbor Public Schools at the following link:

http://www.a2schools.org/aaps/ins.technology/myaccess Link opens in new  window

Word Study in the Middle School Grades

Word study and vocabulary instruction in the middle grades  includes development of an aesthetic appreciation of language through exposure to poetry and explicit instruction, content specific vocabulary instruction, word solving strategies and morphological awareness.

Other Resources

6th Grade

6th Grade English Language Arts Curriculum Map 241kb PDF

State English Language Arts Grade Level Content Expectations for 6th Grade 281kb PDF externallink.gif

7th Grade

7th Grade English Language Arts Curriculum Map 254kb PDF

State English Language Arts Grade Level Content Expectations for 7th Grade 273kb PDF externallink.gif

8th Grade

8th Grade English Language Arts Curriculum Map 265kb PDF

State English Language Arts Grade Level Content Expectations for 8th Grade 273kb PDF externallink.gif

Extended Grade Level Content Expectations

The Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations have been modified for students with disabilities who take the Functional Independence Phase of MI-Access (the state test designed for students for whom the MEAP has been determined to be inappropriate, based on their disability). The modified GLCEs are called Extended Grade Level Content Expectations (EGLCEs).

English Language Arts EGLCEs for 6th Grade 132kb PDF

English Language Arts EGLCEs for 7th Grade 128kb PDF

English Language Arts EGLCEs for 8th Grade 124kb PDF


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