Language Arts

Regular Classroom Program

(One year at each grade level)

The current LA curriculum, building on the foundation provided by the elementary schools in District #117, is designed to develop skills in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening and researching. Daily classroom instruction, along with projects and thematic units, are supported by our textbooks, The Language of Literature (McDougal Littell) and Write Source, the use of novels and other printed text, videos and various forms of technology. Daily work, participation, discussions, projects, speeches, writing in various forms, quizzes and tests are all a part of the assessment process at both grade levels.

The LA program supports offerings outside the school. Students are given the opportunity to use their creative writing skills by preparing for and entering the Young Authors' contest. Some of these manuscripts are sent on to the Writing Talent Search. Spelling bees are also held, with the Turner All-School Spelling Bee winners advancing to the regional level of competition. Other various outside writing opportunities may be supported as well. We also strongly support and encourage participation on Turner's Speech Team!

The seventh grade curriculum is built around units which allow students to learn more about themselves (Me Unit), famous people from history (Biography Unit), along with an in-depth study of Mark Twain, culminating with a trip to Hannibal in the spring. Writing, reading, speaking and listening are all addressed through units such as these. Current novels read in 7th grade include Fever, 1793, Out of the Dust, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The basis for solid learning and research is given through a study skills unit that involves review of and training in the use of the media center.

The eighth grade curriculum, like the 7th grade curriculum, is tied closely to the state goals and standards. Eras and societies about which we read often parallel or review the eras covered in Humanities, such as the Great Depression, the Holocaust, and the Civil Rights Movement. Current novels read in 8th grade include Seedfolks, Bronx Masquerade, No Promises in the Wind, the play version of The Diary of Anne Frank and a selection of Holocaust books through literature circles, plus Nothing But The Truth, if time allows. Writing is particularly geared to persuasive essays, narrative essays, extended responses to text, and poetry.

Both grade levels are also tested through specific assessments. Students are tested in reading three times during the year using the NWEA Map Test, while in March, students are required to take ISATs (Illinois Standard Achievement Tests). Turner's Language Arts classes are also supported through our media center, particularly with the opportunity to take AR tests and have a voice in the Rebecca Caudill Award.

Being able to effectively communicate tops the list of the essential workplace skills. Reading, writing, speaking, listening and researching are basic tools in the living of a successful life. Helping students to grow as individuals and in these skills to achieve success are the primary aims of this course at both grade levels.


Wordworking is a course that addresses the areas of vocabulary and spelling acquisition through the use of various strategies including Greek/Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes. A focus on non-fiction reading strategies as well as expository writing also allows students to develop their context clue skills. Parts of speech, verb tenses, phonics, test-taking strategies, summarization and higher level thinking are just a few of the other areas that are covered in this upbeat class.

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