8th Grade Advanced Language Arts Reading Program

Posted on: June 11th, 2019 by Stacey Cornn

Dear Student,

In just a few months, you’ll be walking into school and preparing to start your last year of middle school. As you know, you have been selected for an Advanced Language Arts/Reading class. In order to prepare for this class, please complete the following activities over the summer.


____________            1. All students will be required to read The Outsiders (4.7 RL; 7 pts.) by S.E. Hinton and write an essay and complete the writing activity on the next page. Please follow the    directions. The essay and writing activity are due on the first day of school, August 9th. Additionally, you will need to come in and take the AR quiz over this novel. The media center is open on MOST Wednesdays (June 12, June 26, July 10, and July 31) from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. and (June 19, and July 17) from 9:00-10:00 a.m. You must take this quiz prior to the start of school.

____________            2. Choose one of the essay topics below and write a well-organized essay. Be sure to use examples from The Outsiders to support your ideas/points.

          • E. Hinton never uses the word “outsider” in her novel, yet it is the title of the book. Maybe she wants us to ponder whom the “outsiders” are. Write an essay in which you explain whom she many have meant by The Outsiders. Be sure to define what you mean by an outsider, and then explain whom you think Ms. Hinton meant. Be sure to use extensive examples from the novel to back up what you say.
          • Ponyboy’s experiences of that week were obviously unforgettable. Write an about an unforgettable experience in your own life. It doesn’t have to be a bad experience; it could be a happy one or one where you learn a lesson the hard way. You could also focus on a situation you faced, such as a challenge or a dilemma. Whatever you choose, make sure that the subject is significant to you, and then show the reader this significance and what you might have learned.
          • Write an essay explaining why you believe each of the Greasers – Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally – would be considered a hero. Include your own definition of hero in the essay, and be sure to explain how each character, in his own way, meets your definition. Remember to support your ideas with examples.
          • Write an essay explaining which gang was more of a disgrace and a menace to society than the other. Look at how society viewed and treated the two groups. Examine the characteristics of each group, its actions, and the choices the members made. Be sure to support your ideas with examples from the novel.
          • Are you a Soc or a Greaser? Why? What are the differences? Examine the characteristics of each group, its actions, and the choices the members made. Use specific examples from The Outsiders.

_____________          3. Select one Young Hoosier Book (YHB) to read. It should be one that you have not read previously. Once you have finished reading it, come in and take the AR quiz over it.                                               There is NO writing assignment over the YHB.


The Bookshelf will have copies of The Outsiders for you to purchase, or you can check out a copy from the public library or our library. The Batesville Memorial Public Library will also have copies of the Young Hoosier Books.

Reading is a life-long skill. We hope that you will enjoy reading these and other pieces over the summer. Don’t forget to take advantage of the Summer Reading Program at the Batesville Memorial Public Library. Also, consider the BMS Summer Reading Program.


If you are not interested in completing the required reading, please contact the school as soon as possible. You will be moved to a regular language arts/reading class.


If you have questions about any of this information, please feel free to contact me over the summer. I will check my email several times each week and would love to correspond with you.

Have a safe and relaxing summer! Happy reading!




Mr. Blake




8th Grade Summer Reading Questions – 2019

Directions: After you finishing reading The Outsiders, answer the following questions. Write a paragraph (5 – 7 sentences) as a response to each of the following questions. Please type your responses and bring with you on the first day of school. If you have questions about the assignment, please contact Mr. Blake (hblake@batesville.k12.in.us).


At the top of the page on the left, use the MLA heading. Then, type the question, hit the return key two times, and then type your response (5 – 7 sentences). Responses should be double-spaced.


  1. Did you like the book? Why or why not? Give an example of something that happens in the book to illustrate your point.



  1. Who was your favorite or least favorite character? What was he/she like? Give an example from the novel that shoes one of his/her traits.



  1. What was a conflict in the story? Who were the characters involved in the conflict? Discuss the conflict and how it evolved.



  1. What was the setting (time and place)? Was it important to the story?



  1. Discuss the conclusion (resolution) of the story. Were all the conflicts resolved? Did the story have a satisfying ending? Why or why not?