Literature and Composition 8/9

From: $85.00 / month for 8 months

Prerequisite: Literature and Composition 7/8 or equivalent.

Grades: 8th–9th

Live Class: Thurs 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET

Dates: August 26–April 29

Price: $599

Instructor: Natania Cook

See Reviews of Instructor Natania Cook

Enrollment in this class is currently closed.

Course Description


“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”—John Locke

In this foundational high school English course, students learn how to deeply, analytically, personally, and imaginatively think about and respond to literature. Students discover connections between literature and the world beyond their virtual classroom. Designed to develop the basic skills of students as mature readers and writers through the analysis of complex texts in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, this course thoroughly prepares students to tackle the rigors of college-preparatory coursework in grades 10-12.

Students explore a variety of writing discourses such as persuasion, cause/effect, compare/contrast, and problem/solution, as well as research-based projects. Because of the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking, students simultaneously strengthen and perfect all of those skills throughout the course. Special emphasis, however, is placed upon effective composition, analytical response to literature, collaboration, discussion, and vocabulary development.

Seven books are required for this course and should be purchased in advance and brought to class as needed. Internet links to short stories, poetry, articles, and speeches are provided by the teacher. Because an important component of this class is learning to provide textual evidence when writing about or discussing literature, it is helpful for all students to acquire the same editions of each book. It is important for the students to be “on the same page,” so please refer to the ISBN numbers in the Required Texts tab above when ordering.

Course Structure

Weekly homework includes spelling, vocabulary, grammar/punctuation, and writing assignments. Each week, students will be introduced to a new spelling rule and will complete assignments in their differentiated spelling notebooks. In addition, students will read while annotating an assigned novel, short story, poem, or article. Students will also be asked to respond to the literature through a variety of methods including thought-provoking questions, story summary charts, essay-writing, group assignments, online discussion boards, journaling, oral reports, and projects.

Who should enroll?

This class is for 8th – 9th graders who have taken Literature and Composition 7/8 or equivalent.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Webcam, headset, and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
  • Microsoft Word and Power Point are extremely helpful. If using a different word processing program, the document should be saved or exported as a pdf in order to submit it on Canvas.

Evaluation and Feedback

Asking students to demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter is an integral part of the learning process. Weekly vocabulary and grammar quizzes will be assigned. Comprehension of literature will be assessed through live class and online discussion and through written responses such as journal entries, multi-paragraph essays, graphic organizers, and exams. Students will also be asked to demonstrate mastery and application of course material by completing special, creative projects and oral presentations.


Communication is an essential component of any educational endeavor. With that in mind, I encourage all of my students to contact me whenever they need assistance with an assignment, and I make it a priority to promptly respond to student inquiries. I also send a weekly “wrap-up” email outlining the learning objectives we accomplished in class as well as reminders about upcoming assignments.

Beyond email correspondence, I have set aside an additional hour each week to assist students with writing and grammar. To participate in this extra learning opportunity, students need to register separately. See English Lab 8/9 for details and to register. Parental inquiries are also welcomed and encouraged as parental involvement is essential to student success. To best serve parents, I have established “office hours” on Friday mornings from 9:00–11:00 AM (ET) for responding to emails and phone calls. I consider it a great privilege to be able to walk alongside parents and assist them in educating their children.

Providing consistent feedback is imperative for student growth and success especially with writing. For this reason, I provide a detailed critique of each major writing assignment as well as general comments on all other assignments. In addition, I schedule individual writing conferences periodically throughout the year where students and I meet one-on-one to address their specific writing needs.

Required Texts


  • Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, ISBN 10: 0743477111
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck, ISBN 10: 014017737X
  • The Odyssey by Homer, translation by Robert Fagles, ISBN 978-0140268867
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, ISBN 10: 1420952226
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, ISBN 10 : 0451527623
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, ISBN 10: 9780811214049

Students will choose a contemporary novel to read on their own. They will use it to present an oral book report to the class. Teacher approval for this book is required.


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Instructor Bio

Natania Cook

One of Natania Cook’s favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:8 that admonishes Christians to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. To her, beautiful literature provides the perfect fodder for deep thinking and worthy discussion. Natania believes that books provide a “safe place” for adults and children alike to wrestle with the tough situations of life and to pause and ponder what is truehonorable, rightpurelovely, and admirable. It is her privilege to be able to assist Aim Academy parents in their efforts to nurture and develop deep thinkers who ponder excellence.

Prior to becoming a homeschool mother of four, Natania’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge led her to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Texas Woman’s University and a BS degree in Education with a specialization in English from Baylor University. She is certified to teach English and English as a Second Language in grades 1-12 and Reading for grades 6-12. With over twenty years of teaching experience, Natania has served in both public and private school settings as well as in various homeschool forums where she has taught multiple grade levels and ages.

Contact: [email protected]

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