Wagner middle school

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8th Grade Summer Reading Assignment
1.) Read and respond to two texts selected by the ELA department:
A. Everyone must read the mandated novel:
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Non-fiction Memoir

B. Choose at least one of the following novels based on your levels. Do not choose a book that you have already read.
Levels T-W

Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume Level T

Fire from the Rock by Sharon Draper Level V

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli Level W

Slam! By Walter Dean Myers Level W
Levels X-Z

Teen Angst? Naah… by Ned Vizzini Level Y

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult Level X

When I Was Puerto Rican Level Z

A Long Way Gone Level Z+ (Note: this book contains mature content)

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher Level Z

After reading two of the above books, students must respond to the essay prompt below:

In most texts the protagonist (main character) faces a conflict (problem) that he or she has struggles to overcome. In the novel Tuesdays with Morrie the protagonist Mitch Albom faces many internal conflicts. Chose the protagonist from one of the novels from the list above and compare the conflict he or she faces with that of Mitch Albom’s. Be sure to explain how their conflicts are similar as well explain how they both deal with their conflicts.
In your essay be sure to:

  • Explain the conflict that Mitch Albom faces and his response

  • Explain the conflict that the protagonist (from the other novel you selected) faces and his response

  • Explain how their conflicts are similar

Students are encouraged to type their papers, using 12 point Times New Roman font, with a one-inch margin on all sides. The rubric for Grade 8 Literary Essays (base don the Common Core Standards for Argument Writing) is attached for reference

2.) Students must also select a THIRD text of their choice. It can be fiction or non-fiction but should be at their level and appropriately challenging.
Grade 8 Literary Essay Rubric Based on Common Core for Argument Writing






  • Thesis is a clear argument, which clearly states the topic and claim.

  • Thesis is an argument that may be simplistic or missing important elements.

  • Thesis is not an argument or it is missing the topic.

Structure of Essay

  • Body paragraphs each have a main idea/topic sentence

  • Conclusion clearly summarizes argument and makes a link/connection to other texts or ideas.

  • Most of the body paragraphs have a main idea/topic sentence.

  • Conclusion summarizes argument and tries to make a link/ connection to other texts or ideas.

  • Introduction may include a weak hook, incomplete summary, overview of main ideas and a thesis, but not all 4.

  • Some body paragraphs have a main idea/topic sentence.

  • Conclusion almost summarizes argument, though it fails to make a connection or there are “loose ends.”

  • Few or none of my body paragraphs have a main idea/topic sentence.

  • Conclusion does not summarize argument or brings up new ideas without explanation.


  • Body paragraphs all have sufficient accurate, relevant and well-chosen quotes/examples to support specific ideas.

  • There is a thorough analysis/interpretation of how evidence supports the main ideas and thesis.

  • Body paragraphs include sufficient accurate, relevant examples/quotes to support specific ideas.

  • Each piece of evidence has some context.

  • There is an explanation of how the evidence supports the main ideas.

  • Body paragraphs include examples or quotes that may be somewhat relevant or accurate to support ideas.

  • There is an attempt to explain the evidence but analysis needs more development.

  • Body paragraphs do not clearly include evidence or the evidence is not relevant.

  • Very little evidence has a context, or context is inaccurate or a re-telling.

  • May include mostly a summary, inaccurate evidence without an analysis or interpretation that explains how it supports the thesis.

Language Use and Editing

  • Whole essay flows smoothly with varied transitions between thoughts

  • Tense consistent throughout the essay.

  • Consistently and accurately used MLA citation format for quotes.

  • Final draft has between 3 to 6 errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

  • Essay flows well with transitions between paragraphs

  • Tense mostly consistent throughout the essay.

  • Accurately used MLA citation for quotes.

  • Final draft has more than 6 errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

  • Inconsistent use of transitions interrupts the flow.

  • Some errors in tense consistency.

  • Has some inaccuracies in MLA citation for quotes.

  • Errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation affect readability.

  • Lack of transitions or inconsistent use affects readability.

  • Many errors in tense consistency.

  • Does not use MLA citations for quotes.

Grading Scale:

(4-) - (4+) = 91 – 99

(3-) - (3+) = 81 – 89

(2-) - (2+) = 71 – 79

(1-) - (1+) = 60 – 69 Final Score: ___________

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