Literature and Composition 7/8

From: $79.00 / month for 8 months

Grades: 7th–8th

Live Class: Thurs 11:30–12:30 p.m. ET

Dates: August 23–April 29

Price: $549

Instructor: Natania Cook

See Reviews of Instructor Natania Cook


Course Description

Middle School is the opportune time to begin more rigorous course work as students prepare to transition into high school Literature and Composition 7/8 offers a challenging yet engaging one-year literature-based, complete English class that allows middle school students to continue to build upon the foundational skills acquired in Literature and Composition 6/7, although not a prerequisite. Students continue to practice and perfect their skills in spelling, reading comprehension, literary analysis, grammar, writing, vocabulary, listening, speaking, and critical thinking. The skill of annotation is regularly practiced and reinforced as students read a variety of texts and genres. Critiquing and analyzing literary works and engaging in meaningful discourse are also essential components of this class. Through “Socratic Circles,” which are organized discussions, students seek a deeper understanding of complex ideas by asking questions. Beyond literary discussions, students, through carefully crafted essays and thoroughly researched arguments, also practice the art of persuasion and oral communication through informal and formal debates.

Students will respond to literature through a variety of methods including thought-provoking questions, story summary charts, essay-writing, group assignments, online discussion boards, journaling, oral reports, and creative projects. Direct instruction in writing is taught beginning with a review of basic elements of a sentence and proper paragraph construction and culminating with the creation of multi-paragraph essays. Conducting research, developing a thesis statement, summarizing a variety of texts, critiquing literature, and responding to a given prompt are some of the composition skills practiced throughout the year. The variety of literature and informational texts read in this class serve as models to improve writing skills. Students will mature in their ability to write through practicing expository, narrative, descriptive, creative, and persuasive writing.

Students will read nine books as well as several short stories, articles, and poems. All Internet links to short stories and poems will be provided by the teacher. Books, however, must be purchased in advance and brought to class as needed. Because an important component of this class is learning how to provide textual evidence when writing about or discussing literature, it is helpful for all students to acquire the same editions of each book. Please refer to the ISBN numbers when ordering.

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, debates, dramatizations, and projects.

Technology Requirements:

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Headset and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
  • Microsoft Word and Power Point is 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 spelling and grammar quizzes will be assigned as well as periodic vocabulary tests. Comprehension of literature will be assessed through live class and online discussions and written responses such as journal entries or essays. After concluding each literature unit, students will be assessed through a variety of methods including essays and major exams. Students will also be asked to apply and demonstrate their ability to analyze literature by completing special, creative projects or 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 7/8” 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

Course Materials:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman ISBN-10: 9780156035217
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl ISBN-10: 9780553296983
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Any unabridged version is fine.)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ISBN-10: 0062073486
How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg ISBN-10: 0802727948
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (Folger version) ISBN-10: 0743477545
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson ISBN-10: 1847494862
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding ISBN-10: 0399501487

Students will also choose a realistic, historical, or science fiction novel to read on their own and to present to the class as an oral book report. Must first seek teacher approval.


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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]

All classes taught by Natania Cook