Reading Counts

What is Reading Counts?

Scholastic Reading Counts! is the only Lexile-based independent reading management program for K-12 students that provides a fun and kid-friendly learning environment. After reading a book, a student takes a computer-generated comprehension quiz to assess the student's understanding.

You may find more information on the Reading Counts! program on Scholastic.com

What books are Reading Counts?


Submitting on TURNITIN

Students will submit their work on a digital site, TURNITIN.com. The website tracks student work for plagiarism. Students may log into the site using their ChromeBook username and password.


Plagiarism and Academic Honesty Violation

Students, plagiarism is defined as copying someone else's work and presenting it as your own. This includes working together on an assignment when it should be done independently. All work needs to be your own, unless it is a collaborative group activity. Copying someone else's work, whether it is a student, a sibling, or an online author, IS considered plagiarism and is an Academic Honesty Offense. A first-time Academic Honesty Offense for the student copying AND the student allowing someone to copy their work will result in a ZERO on the entire assignment.

1st Academic Honesty Offense: Automatic zero on the assignment/test and parent contact.

2nd Academic Honesty Offense: Automatic zero on the assignment/test and parent contact; referral in discipline file; removal from leadership positions.

3rd Academic Honesty Offense: transfer from the class with a grade of "F"; referral in discipline file; suspension.

English 7

Trimester 1

  • Elements of the Short Story- class notes
  • Short Stories
  • Grammar/Usage
  • Composition: Narrative
  • Reading Counts Novels

Trimester 2

  • A Christmas Carol
  • Grammar/Usage
  • Research skills
  • Composition: Argument
  • Novel Unit- The Outsiders
  • Reading Counts Novels

Trimester 3

  • Poetry
  • Grammar/Usage
  • Composition: Informational writing
  • Poetry and creative writing
  • Speech
  • Reading Counts Novels

Honors Requirements

7th Grade Honors

Dear Parents,

Congratulations! Your child’s 6th grade teacher has recommended your child for 7th grade honors English, based on the following criteria:

  • Mostly As for end of trimester grade for subject. (one B okay)
  • High homework completion rate.
  • High attendance rate (special temporary situations exempt).
  • The student demonstrates a consistent pattern of high achievement in the subject over time.
  • The student has a strong work ethic, and is not reliant on homework completion, extra credit, and/or participation to offset lower test grades.
  • The student consistently scores well above average on tests, quizzes, writing assignments, long-term projects, etc.
  • The student demonstrates that he/she grasps abstract concepts at a deep level of understanding.
  • The student is familiar with grade level content and reads at or above grade level.
  • The student generates novel ideas and solutions for open-ended assignments and projects (what you might call an “out-of-the-box” or lateral thinker).
  • The student responds to open-ended or complex questions or comments with a sensible, logical sequence to how he/she constructs the response (he/she is not “all over the place”).
  • The student demonstrates tenacity—when faced with a challenging assignment, continuing to persevere or try other avenues.
  • The student pays attention to detail and checks his/her work for accuracy, reflecting on whether the response makes sense.
  • The student has mastered key concepts in the subject area. Student generally outperforms his/her peers in the subject area or related topics.
  • The student can construct evidence-based, logical arguments verbally and in writing, and recognizes flaws in the reasoning of others.
  • The student is inquisitive, asks follow-up questions, challenges assumptions, and often wants to know the rationale for decisions or grades.

8th Grade Honors

Honors curriculum includes two text sets:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain and A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare

Summer Reading 8th

Honors students will be required to read Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson, for 8th grade.

  • Students should complete reading the novel prior to the first day of 8th grade.
  • Students will complete a Portfolio Project for their reading.
  • The Portfolio will be assigned in the first week of school and will be due in the second week of school.

Students, if you would like to get a head start on your Portfolio Project, you may add the Summer Reading Google Classroom.

Google Classroom Class Code: db9d87

Summer Reading HS

Honors 8th graders going into Honors English in high school are required to complete summer reading.

Students, in order to access the summer reading for your HS, please add the Summer Reading Google Classroom.

Google Classroom Class Code: 8n42qu

English 8


8th Grade English/Honors

Welcome back to another school year at La Paz Intermediate! Mrs. Eichinger, Mrs. Gibbs, and Ms. Abassy are looking forward to sharing this important year with you.

Classroom Materials

We expect all students to come to school prepared with basic tools for study. The following supplies are necessary to be successful in my classroom:

  • Student planner
  • Pocket folder for English materials only
  • Pencils (sharpened) or mechanical
  • Pens (blue/black and red)
  • Highlighters (3 or more colors)
  • Lined notebook paper
  • Outside Reading book
  • Earbuds for listening to videos online
  • Colored post-it notes
  • Scissors, glue stick, and tape
  • Hand sanitizer and tissues

Classroom Expectations

To ensure a productive learning environment, we support and enforce the school-wide positive behavior system in the classroom. Across campus and especially in our classroom, the basic expectations for all students fall into three main categories: Responsibility, Respect, and Readiness. We expect all students to:

  • Listen to and follow all directions.
  • Bring all required materials to class each day (see material requirements).
  • Be seated and ready to begin when the bell rings.
  • Listen quietly when the teacher or another student is speaking.
  • Participate in class activities in a cooperative and contributive manner.
  • Follow the district’s academic code of honor. Cheating/copying will result in a zero for the assignment and an N or U in citizenship. Refer to page 19-20 in the student planner for detailed information.
  • Absolutely NO gum on campus!
  • Bell to bell, no cell unless a staff member gives permission.

Late Work Policy

All late work due to an absence must be made-up according to SVUSD guidelines. A student may turn in work no later than the number of days absent. The student is required to turn in their absent work to the teacher when it’s due. If you are absent, please write ‘Absent’ at the top of your paper along with the ‘Date’ you were absent from class.

  • All homework, class assignments, and projects are due on the specified due date and at the specified time for full credit.
  • You will be penalized for turning in late work (homework and classwork):
  • Trimester 1 a max of 75%, Trimester 2 a max of 50%, no credit for late work Trimester 3.
  • All major writing assignments and projects will be accepted for up to a 75% credit when turned in late.
  • All assignments due in Turnitin through my Haiku webpage are due before 8:30 a.m. on the due date, regardless if the student is absent.

Grading Policy

The grading policy is weighted as follows:

  • Writing 40%
  • Tests and Quizzes 20%
  • Classwork/homework 25 %
  • Reading 15%

Trimester 1

This year in English, we will be using the online textbook called StudySync. Every student will have access to both a digital and textbook version. Through StudySync, we can provide students with a variety of excerpts, short stories, and current, nonfiction articles. Students are also able to highlight and annotate directly within a text.

Students will also be writing personal narratives as they explore and learn about their names. Modeled in a vignette by Sandra Cisneros, students get to discover the feelings, memories, and histories attached to their names. Afterwards, they create visual word art that represents who they are and how they see themselves.

As we move forward through narrative writing, we will learn to analyze how authors create suspense. Students will research a specific author to discover the writer’s craft.

Finally, students will create their own “blast” article. They will write about how authors are able to effectively create suspense, making a more intriguing piece of literature.

Trimester 2

In the second trimester, we focus on argumentative writing, beginning with a unit on animal testing. Students often find this topic interesting; many end up changing their minds as they discover new arguments for and against animal testing.

We then transition to a “Civil Rights” unit, focusing on the movement towards civil disobedience. We analyze several nonfiction pieces by Sojourner Truth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzai, Mahatma Gandhi, and more. The students are challenged to come up with their own definitions of what makes for a civil society.

The Honors students explore Mark Twain’s use of satire in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Trimester 3

As we wind up the year, we dive into WWII and its implications on our own world today. We search for answers to such questions as: How did the Holocaust happen? What is a dystopia, and can it exist today? We study such works as Anne Frank (the play), The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Prisoner B-3087. The students will be given choices to read that fit their interest. We also look at propaganda and discover its effects on society as a whole.

One of the highlights of the year is our trip to the Museum of Tolerance. Every year, students have the opportunity to explore the museum and learn more about both tolerance and the Holocaust.

The Honors students finish the year reading Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a hilarious comedy about romance and mistaken identity. This is a great opportunity for them to dive into the rich language that still thrills readers today.

Book Club

This year, we are focusing the students’ reading on specific genres each month. Together they are able to share ideas about various elements of literature such as characters, plot, theme, point of view, and conflict.

For English 8, they will need to complete 60 points of RC tests each trimester in addition to participating in a monthly book discussion. As long as they earn 60 points by the end of the trimester, they will receive 100% in RC.

For Honors English, the students will complete a project each month that demonstrates comprehension of the book. In addition, they will participate in a guided monthly book discussion.

Students are encouraged to read personal choice books outside of their monthly book club novels.

Resources and Handouts

Essay Outline


Strong hook: A quote or a strong statement supporting your thesis statement or claim--this should NOT be a question.

TAG: Introduce title of the story, the author, and the genre.

Background: (transition word/phrase) Brief summary of what the story is about.

Thesis Statement or Claim: Answer the prompt and provide two reasons (one for each body paragraph).

Body Paragraph #1

Topic Sentence: (transition word/phrase) Restate your thesis statement or claim and describe Reason #1.

Evidence: (transition word/phrase) A direct quote from the story (cited).

Elaboration: (transition word/phrase) Connect your evidence to your thesis statement or claim.

Evidence: (transition word/phrase) A direct quote from the story (cited).

Elaboration: (transition word/phrase) Connect your evidence to your thesis statement or claim.

Body Paragraph #2

Topic Sentence: (transition word/phrase) Restate your thesis statement or claim and describe Reason #2.

Evidence: (transition word/phrase) A direct quote from the story (cited).

Elaboration: (transition word/phrase) Connect your evidence to your thesis statement or claim.

Evidence: (transition word/phrase) A direct quote from the story (cited).

Elaboration: (transition word/phrase) Connect your evidence to your thesis statement or claim.

Counterclaim: (for argument essay only) The opposing side of your claim.

Rebuttal: (for argument essay only) Another strong point about your claim.


Topic Sentence: (transition word/phrase) Restate your thesis statement or claim in different words *Do NOT say "in conclusion" or "to conclude"

Summary: (transition word/phrase) Discuss the main points of your body paragraphs.

Lesson Learned: (transition word/phrase) What is an important lesson to be learned?

Elements of Literature

Elements of a Story

Basic Elements of a Short Story

  1. Plot: the sequence of events in the story; what happens and the order in which it happens
  1. Character: who or what acts out the plot
  1. Setting: where and when the story takes place; the time, place, and atmosphere of the story
  1. Point of View: who tells the story; an objective narrator, a main character
  1. Theme: the underlying meaning or message the author wants the reader to see; a general truth about life or mankind. The theme may be moral or lesson of the story, but is not necessarily so. Themes may be directly stated in the story or merely implied. **Theme is what the author is trying to say; it is usually why he wrote the story

Basic Plot Structure

The Plot Diagram

The series of events in a plot centers on a conflict, which is the struggle between opposing forces or a complication that must be solved.

  • Exposition: the beginning of the story; sets the stage and gives the who, what, where, when of the story
  • Narrative Hook: the point at which the author catches our attention. Usually a complication sets in.
  • Rising Action: more complications added to the story; increases our interest.
  • Climax: the point of highest interest in the story; the moment of greatest intensity. It is at this point in the story which we know for certain how the problems will be solved.
  • Falling Action: what happens immediately after the climax
  • Resolution: the final outcome; also called the DENOUEMENT. Not all the stories will have this.


Character: a person, animal, or thing that takes part in the action of a literary work.

  • Protagonist: the main character. It is his or her story.
  • Antagonist: a character or force in conflict with the main character, or protagonist
  • Round: fully developed character; writer reveals character’s background and his/her personality traits, both good and bad.
  • Flat: seems to possess only one or two personality traits and little, if any, personal history.
  • Dynamic: A character who changes in some way during the course of the story. This change or “lesson learned” often points to the theme of the story.
  • Static: a character that does not change.
  • Minor Character: takes part in the story’s events but is not the main focus of attention; sometimes helps the reader learn about the main character.
  • Hero/Heroine: a character whose actions are inspiring or noble.
  • Motivation: the reason that explains or partially explains a character’s actions.
  • Foil: a person whose main purpose in the story is to make another character look brighter. He makes the other character “shine”. (Like Patrick in Spongebob Squarepants)



Two types of conflict:

External Conflict: the character struggles against some person or force

  • man vs. man
  • man vs. environment
  • man vs. society

Internal Conflict: the struggle takes place within the character’s mind

  • man vs. his duty
  • man vs. his selfishness
  • man vs. his fears

Suspense: the feeling of anxious uncertainty about the outcome of events in a literary work. The suspense in a story can be especially intense if the writer has created convincing, interesting characters about whom the reader cares strongly.

Foreshadowing: the use of clues in a literary work that suggest events that have yet to occur. Foreshadowing helps create suspense by making the reader wonder what will happen next.

Red Herrings: false clues purposefully planted in a plot to throw the reader off track. Commonly found in mystery plots.

Willing Suspension of Disbelief: the reader puts his disbeliefs aside and ignores flaws in the plot in order to enjoy the plot.

Irony: any sudden twist or turn in the plot

Three types of irony:

  1. Verbal Irony: words are used to suggest the opposite of their usual meaning, as when a weak person is called a “born leader.” Sarcasm is a form of verbal irony.
  2. Dramatic Irony: there is a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the audience or reader knows to be true (i.e. we are in on the surprise).
  3. Situational Irony: an event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters and the readers (i.e. the characters AND the audience are both surprised).

Point of View, Symbolism, Tone

Flashback: a scene inserted into a story showing events that happened in the past. Flashback is usually used to make a deeper connection between events in the past and how they have influenced the present.

Chronological Order: the order in which the events occurred in time are the order in which they appear in the story.

In Media Res: ( Latin: “in the midst of things”) the practice of beginning a narrative by plunging into a crucial situation that is part of a related chain of events; the situation is an extension of previous events and will be developed in later action. The narrative then goes directly forward, and exposition of earlier events is supplied by flashbacks.

Symbolism: Symbolism is the use of symbols in a story. A symbol is any thing that stands for or represents something else. Symbols are usually concrete objects, images, or actions used to represent abstract ideas.

Tone: the attitude toward the subject and the audience conveyed by the language and the rhythm of the speaker in a literary work.

Mood: (also called “atmosphere”) the feeling created in the reader by a literary work or passage. The author may decide to sustain the same mood throughout a literary work, or the mood may change with each new twist of the plot. The tone of the narrator often helps set the overall mood.

Points of View

Three main points of view:

  1. First-Person Point of View: one of the characters tells the story, which is indicated by the pronouns “I” and “me.” The audience or reader becomes familiar with the narrator, but we can only know what this person knows and and only observe what this person observes. All of our information about the story comes from this narrator, who may be unreliable (“Duffy’s Jacket”, “Three Skeleton Key”).
  1. Limited Third-Person Point of View: the narrator focuses on the thoughts and feelings of only one character without actually being that character. From this point of view we observe the action from the point of view of only one of the characters in the story. (“The Smallest Dragonboy”).
  1. Omniscient Third-Person Point of View: the narrator knows everything about the characters and their problems. This all-knowing narrator can tell us about the past, present, or future of the characters. The narrator can also tell us what the characters are thinking and what is happening in several places at the same time. However, the narrator does not take part in the story’s action(“Rikki Tikki Tavi”).