Year 8 English
Guidance for parents
What will students be studying in English this year?
In Year 8 students will complete a very wide variety of study – we are keen for them to experience a very broad range of genres and periods of literature and we try to cover as much ground as possible. The specifics of the course will vary from class to class but all classes will explore a Shakespeare play, poetry old and new, a piece of modern drama, and a novel. Students will also work on some substantial pieces of independent work this year: completing a six chapter novel, a marketing campaign for a charity and a magazine.
What are the major assessments this year?
Each term students will complete a 'cross year' assessment, focusing on developing their reading and writing skills. In the Year 8 summer exam students will respond to an unseen piece of prose, responding to focused analysis questions about it and then completing a writing task.
What will the current performance grade be based on, and what do the levels mean?
The current performance grades are based on all the work she completes this year, including classwork and homework as well as the 'cross year' tests. Her spoken contributions to class work and discussion will also form part of the assessment. All students are given a document at the start of the year which describes the levels and the differences between them.
What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?
In the first instance, she should speak to her subject teacher. She should try to identify specific areas of the subject which she is finding a challenge so that we can offer targeted support.
How can I support my daughter in Year 8?
The best way to provide general support to Year 8 students is by talking to them about their work in the subject and how things are going. If you can, read the texts they are studying yourself and talk about them. Don’t worry about having a ‘literary discussion’ – just talking about a text on any level will help the student to make connections and identify problems with the text. Do get your hands on films and audiobooks of the set texts and watch them together or listen at home or in the car. Encourage them to continue reading as widely as possible and, in particular, to read and discuss non-fiction texts – for example, in the news and features sections of quality newspapers – as well as reading enjoyable and good quality fiction. It is a good idea at this stage to ensure that your daughter has access to a good quality English dictionary and a Roget's thesaurus to help with vocabulary development.
What kind of independent work should my daughter be completing?
Students are given regular independent homework to complete and this should be recorded in your daughter's planner. To do well in English, she should be regularly practising and developing her reading and writing skills. Please encourage your daughter to keep a 'reading journal' where she records what she has read and reflects upon it, and encourage as much opportunity for writing eg keeping a diary or blog.
Who can I contact for further advice and information?
Please feel free to contact the Head of English, Mr Lewis, on firstname.lastname@example.org as much detailed information as possible.