The goals of the literature program are twofold: to encourage students to enjoy reading and to help them become more perceptive, competent, readers, and thinkers. Reading skills and concepts are taught through mentor texts, and students are asked to apply these concepts in their independent reading. In conjunction with independent reading, students discuss literature in small book club groups.
Students continue to develop both expository and creative writing skills, increase their knowledge of grammar and the mechanics of writing, and develop research and reporting skills. A Writer's Workshop approach is used as students brainstorm, draft, revise, and publish their prose.
The writing curriculum is based on the idea that writing is a process and there is no such thing as perfect. Students learn how to respond to feedback, edit and revise, revise, revise. Periodic goal-setting, reflection, peer editing, and writing conferences play a major role in the students' development as writers.
Public Speaking/Writer’s Workshop
In seventh grade, in addition to English class, students attend a Public Speaking/Writer’s Workshop class once a week as an introduction to public speaking and the speech-writing process. The class is taught by Burke’s High School Counselor and by meeting regularly, the counselor is able to establish relationships with each seventh grader well in advance of the high-school planning
they will work on in the following year.