Students are guided in their growing ability to read critically. They keep reading logs on books from an extensive outside reading list, and write several book reports, in which emphasis is placed on plot summarization, character development, and theme analysis. The class also works on skills in note taking, preparing outlines, and paraphrasing. The Renaissance is the major theme of seventh grade. Short writing assignments have particular goals for strengthening the mechanics of writing – development of varied and complex sentence structure, organization and development of paragraphs, transitions, and sequencing. Writing for science main lessons emphasizes precision and clarity of expression. The class also works with the theme of “wish, wonder, and surprise,” expanding their ability to manipulate the English language to meet different moods and modes. Students also write ballads and other poems, thus beginning an exploration of meter and rhyme schemes. Library research skills are introduced at this time, and children write longer research papers. Vocabulary and spelling quizzes are given, and students use Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition as well as grammar and vocabulary workbooks.
Folk tales and poetry from various cultures, which were read in the early grades, are now studied from a new perspective. In addition, students read Shakespeare and epic poetry. They select independent reading, keep reading logs, and write several book reports. Discussion, writing assignments, and quizzes require recall of textual detail, hypothesizing, theme and character analysis, and literary style. Making an outline, note-taking, writing a research paper (citing of sources and making a bibliography), paraphrasing, summarizing, the essay, and newspaper and business writing are all addressed. Grammar studies are supplemented with exercises from workbooks, and vocabulary is developed through literature as well as through workbook assignments. Creative writing encourages students to work descriptively with mood, style, and literary forms.