English Department

  • Curricular Components


    Each trimester, students will be required to complete one major writing piece (pre-writing/outlining, multiple drafts, peer and self-editing, final copy). At times, students will take part in Writer’s Workshop, inspired by the work of Lucy Calkins.

    In addition to this major piece, over the course of two years, students will have practice writing in the following genres:

    • Paragraph length essay responses
    • Narrative/Memoir
    • Creative (e.g. short story writing and thematic/project based)
    • Interpretive essay
    • Poetry
    • Persuasive


    7th and 8th Grade literature text selections may include but are not limited to: Journey myths, short Stories/Junior Great Books selections, The Giver, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, A Christmas Carol, Boy, The Outsiders, The Pearl, A Raisin in the Sun, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Book Thief, Of Mice and Men, All Quiet on the Western Front, Night, There Are No Children Here, Our America, Ender’s Game, Fallen Angels, Soldier’s Heart, Animal Farm, Murder on the Orient Express, selected Shakespeare plays, assorted poetry.

    Students will also work to develop a system for marking text (annotation) to strengthen comprehension, text analysis, and class discussion.

    Independent Reading:

     In addition to the required in-class reading assignments, students are required to spend time each day reading self-selected texts. Although students are not required to mark/annotate or study these texts per se, they will be required to report on at least one per month and to turn in a log of what they have read.


    One main component of the vocabulary program at Washburne is the study of prefixes, suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots to improve vocabulary comprehension and spelling. Students will also study vocabulary in context within classroom texts.


    • Parts of speech: review as necessary
    • Parts of sentence: subject, predicate, object
    • Punctuation: comma usage, apostrophe usage, colons and semi-colons
    • Sentence types: compound, complex, and compound-complex and how to punctuate each
    • Phrases and clauses
    • Punctuating dialogue & punctuating quotations/citations
    • Subject/verb agreement
    • Subjective/objective case (I vs. me, she vs. her, etc.)
    • Verb tense consistency