Literacy in the fifth through eighth grades centers on an integrated approach to the teaching of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students in these grades are learning to use their literacy skills across the disciplines and for a variety of purposes. It is our goal that students take what they learn in readers' and writers' workshops and apply it throughout the school day and beyond the classroom. Literature, poetry, newspaper articles, primary sources and other non-fiction materials provide the basis for reading at these grade levels. Creative writing, research papers and persuasive essays are just a few of the many types of writing that students do. Much of the work in literacy is directly tied to social studies themes. We recognize that students at this age level bring a wide range of skills and experiences. Our literacy program is constructed to accommodate these diverse strengths and needs and to prepare students to enter high school.

Grades 5 & 6

List of 3 items.

  • Reading

    Our goals in reading are to help students become more fluent and insightful readers, to expose them to a wide variety of high quality literature and to inspire a love of reading. Fifth and sixth graders participate in literature discussion groups where they read from different genres. Reading skills continue to be honed and students begin to take a more in-depth look at style, character development, point of view and author’s intent. Students are read to daily, have quiet reading time and keep a literacy notebook which includes a reader’s journal; a place to respond to readings and collect suggestions for future books.
  • Writing

    In the fifth and sixth grades, writers' workshop provides time and structure for students to develop skills in different types of writing: fiction, news articles, informational writing, free-writing and poetry. Students develop their writing through conferencing, revising and editing, where attention is paid to content, as well as grammar and spelling. Students keep a literacy notebook which includes a writer’s notebook; a place to gather ideas, practice different writing styles and keep notes and inspirations for future work. The Biographies Project, memoirs and writing folktales are examples of some writing projects in fifth and sixth grades.
  • Listening and Speaking

    Listening and speaking skills are embedded in all areas of the curriculum. Our goals are to help students develop confident voices and listening skills. To that end, students are encouraged to use their words to express thoughts and ideas to peers and adults in a variety of settings; in turn, to listen patiently, hear different points of view and to work towards mutual understanding. Reading aloud, acting in role-plays, taking part in a debate, becoming a character in the Biographies or Monologues project or simply sharing in class meeting are ways in which students develop their speaking voices. Students practice active listening in meetings and being a member of an audience.

Grades 7 & 8

List of 3 items.

  • Reading

    In the seventh and eighth grades, directed instruction in literature provides opportunities to explore ideas, themes and genres of expression along with the honing of skills. Direct text analysis continues to provide important reading skill and vocabulary building. In keeping with the humanities model in this class, much of the literature and primary source reading is directly related to the themes of Justice and Dissent and Multicultural Voices of America.
  • Writing

    In the seventh and eighth grades, students work to become discriminating thinkers and precise writers. Students learn to write multi-paragraph essays in a variety of voices using descriptive and figurative language. Mastery of topic sentence/thesis, introductory paragraphs and conclusions are some goals of the writing program with attention paid to organization, flow of information and clarity. Students write persuasive essays, complete in-depth research and write creative stories and poetry. Much of the writing is related to social studies themes. The Monologues Project, research and a Poetry Slam are examples of written and oral projects in seventh and eighth grades.
  • Listening and Speaking

    Students engage daily in activities that allow them to hone their speaking and listening skills. From leading a morning homeroom activity to teaching the entire class what they have learned from an in-depth research project, students have many opportunities to speak and listen to their peers. Class debates, re-enactments of historical events, the middle school play and the Monologues Project are all examples of extended, complex assignments that help students learn to identify and present different points of view, deliver a persuasive argument and use different forms of drama to relay an idea. FSS graduates enter high school confident in their presentation skills and are known to be class leaders in this area.

Curriculum Samples

List of 6 items.

  • Discussion of literary elements and genre studies

  • Expository writing

  • Grammar, spelling and vocabulary

  • Literature discussion groups (fiction, poetry and short stories)

  • Research, essay and persuasive writing

  • Writer's workshop with a process approach

Fayerweather Street School | 765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-876-4746
Fayerweather is a private PreK, kindergarten, elementary and middle school. We engage each child’s intellect.