Why It Helps
Beginning in grade 6, SpringBoard English Language Arts students develop and refine skills in critical thinking, close reading, writing in various genres, and doing research.
Over the course of the program, they read and analyze a wide range of texts in genres including poetry, novels, plays, biographies, nonfiction narratives, speeches, and films. They also learn to write in forms including essays, personal narratives, argumentative texts such as editorials, and research papers.
How It Works
Each grade level uses complex, grade appropriate texts that allow students to examine an idea from multiple points of view while working with a variety of genres. Students progress from guided reading through collaborative projects to confident, independent work.
In units built around the theme “Change,” students will:
- Read work by Langston Hughes, John Steinbeck, and Sandra Cisneros.
- Write narrative, explanatory, and argumentative texts.
- Learn strategies for planning, drafting, revising, and editing their own writing.
- Explore the fundamentals of research, including citations and how to evaluate the credibility of sources.
- Deepen their understanding of topics through film and multimedia.
In units built around the theme “Choice,” students will:
- Read work by Nelson Mandela, Robert Frost, Sojourner Truth, and Shakespeare.
- Learn close reading strategies to discover the explicit and implicit content of texts.
- Write in argumentative, explanatory, and narrative modes.
- Examine how ideas are conveyed in film and multimedia.
In units built around the theme “Challenges,” students will:
- Read work by Ray Bradbury and Walt Whitman, an essay about Civil War heroes, narratives about the Holocaust, and Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
- Learn about the hero archetype and hero’s journey narratives.
- Write narrative, explanatory, argumentative, and other texts.
- Research an issue in current events and then create a multimedia presentation.
- Read scenes from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then watch the scenes on film and analyze how the adaptation differs from the source.
In units that examine the uses of language, students will:
- Read works by authors such as Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich, William Shakespeare, Joshua Bennett, Toni Morrison, as well as selected nonfiction.
- Learn to gather evidence from texts and incorporate it into written and oral responses.
- Write in argumentative, informational, narrative, and other modes.
- Research and present findings around a current issue.
In units that study the power of language to persuade, students will:
- Read works such as Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Sophocles’ Antigone, Susan B. Anthony’s “On Women’s Right to Vote,” and Kofi Annan’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
- Examine how culture influences worldview.
- Incorporate textual evidence into a written argument.
- Write in argumentative, narrative, information, and other modes.
- Research a culture and present findings in a collaborative presentation using digital media.
In units built around the theme “The American Dream,” students will:
- Read foundational documents such as the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, essays by Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
- Write an expository essay defining what it means to be an American.
- Write a synthesis essay arguing whether or not America still provides access to the American Dream.
- Write in a variety of modes and genres.
- Compare print and film versions of Arthur Miller’s playThe Crucible.
- Create a news outlet based on real-world news organizations.
In units built around the theme “Perspective,” students will:
- Read works such as James Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village,” George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant,” Shakespeare’s Othello, and George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.
- Apply multiple perspectives to complex texts.
- Apply various types of literary criticism: archetypal, Marxist, feminist, historical, cultural, and reader response.
- Perform rigorous reading and writing that synthesizes learning.
- Analyze how historical contexts have influenced performances of Othello, and compare multiple film versions of the drama.
Do students have to begin the program in grade 6?
No. Although the program is vertically aligned so that students build academic skills, students can begin the coursework at any time and still benefit.
What happens if I have English language learners or struggling readers?
The Teacher Edition of each course offers strategies for differentiating instruction, so you can adapt each unit. For students who would benefit from more intensive language instruction, SpringBoard also offers grade-level Language Workshops coordinated to ELA units.