Eighth Grade Literature
Instructor: Betsy Gottschalk
Download Syllabus PDF

Independent Reading


  1. Eighth graders are required to read 250 pages per week (please meet with me about other options). Read literary or informational texts. This can include the book that we are reading for Literature Circle meetings and the book I am reading aloud to you.
  2. Keep track of the books you read by listing the title, author, number of pages, and the dates you began and finished the book. Mark this reading log as you start each new book. Keep this log in the front pocket of your literature folder.
  3. While you are reading a book, you need to report your personal response to the book each week. You’ll do this in a couple of different ways:

a. At the end of the week, half of the students will meet in a large group to discuss their reading. The next week the other half of the class will meet for discussion.

b. For students not in the discussion group:

i. While reading a book: you will write a letter about the content and a personal response to the book while you are still reading the book. The letter needs to follow the friendly letter format and be one page in length. The first half of the letter (approximately 100 words) needs to tell about the plot, characters, setting, etc., and the second half of the letter (approximately 100 words) needs to be a personal response to some element of the story or about author’s writing style.

ii. When you are finished reading a book you will create a project about the book. It can be a poster, diorama, mobile, book report, etc. Complete a project on the book when you are finished reading it. You need to turn in a project in order to receive credit for the book. Some suggestions for projects are (but you are not limited to these forms):

1. Posters need to include the title, author, number of pages in the book, a quote (of at least a paragraph in length), and an illustration which applies to the quote.
2. Dioramas and mobiles need to follow the poster informational content.
3. Book Reports need to be at least 250 words in length and written in

Literature Circles (Book Clubs)


Literature circle sessions are a chance to discuss books in depth. We’ll gather in small groups at least once per week during the time we are discussing the book. You will be responsible to read the section of the book, and come with sticky notes and a notebook. Both the sticky notes and the notebook need to have written comments about the book or golden lines from the book with the page numbers of the section on which you are commenting. The comments should be about what you read, so that you will be able to contribute to the discussion. You also need to bring the book we are discussing and you do need to talk about the book when we are meeting.

Bring these items to your Literature Circle discussion:


I will read high-quality books and poetry aloud to you. Lucky you!

Literature Grading

Each of these elements will factor into your Literature grade:

  • Independent Reading and Reporting
  • Literature Circle and Book Talk
  • Classwork
  • Participation/Behavior

Extra Credit

Extra Credit is possible if all required work is completed and turned in. Please speak with me about extra credit options. Extra credit will be due no later than two weeks before the end of the semester.

Extra Time

The student or parent may arrange for extra time for assignments for extenuating circumstances such as an illness.