Top 10 Must-Read Books for 8th Graders to Meet Common Core Standards

Understanding the Common Core Standards for 8th grade reading


8th grade reading standards

For parents and educators, understanding the Common Core Standards for 8th grade reading can be confusing and overwhelming. However, it is essential to have a grasp of these standards as they provide a framework for what students should know and what they should be able to do at the end of 8th grade in reading and literacy.

The Common Core Standards for 8th grade reading emphasize the importance of students’ ability to read texts closely and critically. Students need to be able to interpret and analyze a variety of texts, including novels, poems, and non-fiction works, to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. In addition to closely reading a text, students should be able to use evidence from the text to support their analysis of the author’s purpose or message.

The standards also focus on building students’ vocabulary knowledge and comprehension skills. Students must understand the meaning of words in context, recognize figurative language and literary devices, and examine how authors use language to convey meaning and create tone. Students should also be able to summarize texts, compare and contrast ideas, and integrate information from multiple sources, both print and digital, on the same topic.

Another critical component of the Common Core Standards for 8th grade reading is students’ ability to analyze informational texts. Students must be able to read and interpret complex texts to acquire a deeper understanding of scientific, historical, and literary concepts. Students should be able to identify central ideas, analyze the development of ideas over the course of a text and evaluate an author’s point of view.

One way that students can gain an understanding of these standards is by engaging in close reading activities. Close reading focuses on the careful, critical, and thoughtful analysis of texts. Students read a text multiple times, each time with a specific focus. They may be asked to identify and analyze literary devices, examine the author’s tone, or evaluate the credibility of the source of the text. Close reading aims to help students develop the skills of interpreting and analyzing the text, which will prepare them towards achieving the Common Core Standards for 8th grade reading.

In conclusion, the Common Core Standards for 8th grade reading provide guidance on the skills and knowledge needed for students at this level to be successful in reading and comprehension. Educators and parents must work together to ensure that students achieve these standards by providing the necessary support and resources. To engage 8th graders, teachers can incorporate a variety of texts, genres, and activities to build their understanding of the concepts and topics they are studying, while keeping the learning process fun and interactive.

Classic Novels Every 8th Grader Should Read


To Kill A Mockingbird

One of the must-read classic novels for every 8th grader is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel tells the story of Scout Finch, a young girl living in a small Alabama town during the 1930s. Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. The novel explores themes of racial inequality, prejudice, and social justice through Scout’s eyes, who is learning to challenge the societal norms of her time. This book is an American classic and is a great introduction to themes that are still relevant today.

The Giver

Another classic novel that every 8th grader should read is Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The novel revolves around a young boy named Jonas living in a seemingly perfect society. However, as Jonas begins to receive special training from the mysterious Giver, he discovers the dark secrets behind the society’s perfection. The novel explores the themes of individuality, freedom, and memory. It’s a thought-provoking novel that raises questions about what a perfect society really means.

Lord Of The Flies

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is another classic novel that every 8th grader should read. The novel tells the story of a group of boys who become stranded on a deserted island and must survive without adult supervision. As the boys struggle to form a new society, the novel explores themes of power, leadership, and the inherent human desire for violence. The book is a sobering reminder of the dangers of mob mentality and the importance of maintaining social order. It’s a haunting book that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is another classic novel that every 8th grader should read, particularly for fans of dystopian literature. The novel is set in a future society where books are banned and “firemen” are tasked with burning any books that are found. The story follows a fireman named Montag, who begins to question the society’s values and eventually joins the underground movement to preserve books and knowledge. The novel explores themes of censorship, knowledge, and the importance of cultural history. It’s a gripping and thought-provoking read that will likely leave readers reflecting on their own society.

Pride And Prejudice

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a classic novel that every 8th grader should read to experience the world of romance and societal norms. The novel follows the story of the Bennet family, particularly the second daughter, Elizabeth, who must navigate the expectations of her society as she tries to find love. The novel explores themes of class, gender, and the expectations of societal norms in the early 1800s. It’s a charming and witty book that will transport readers to a bygone era.

Overall, these classic novels offer valuable insights into the human condition and are important works of literature that have stood the test of time. They are sure to be enjoyed by readers of all ages and are an excellent addition to any 8th-grade reading list.

Contemporary Books to Keep 8th Graders Engaged


contemporary books

At the age of 8th graders, students are beginning to explore their own identities and understand the world around them. Reading contemporary books that deal with issues relevant to their lives can help them better understand themselves and the world they live in. Here are some of the contemporary books that are highly recommended for 8th graders, from realistic fiction to exploration of mental illness:

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the hate u give

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas explores the life of 16-year-old Starr Carter, who lives in two different worlds, a poor neighborhood and a wealthy, predominately white prep school. The story is about the tension between these two worlds when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Kahlil, by a police officer. This book deals with issues such as race relations, police brutality, and social injustice, which are still relevant topics in today’s society.

2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

everything everything

“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon is a love story between Maddy, who suffers from severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a disease that makes her allergic to almost everything, and Olly, the boy who moves in next door, who helps Maddy embrace the unpredictable world outside her sanitized existence. This book is not only about love, but about overcoming adversity and the importance of taking risks in life.

3. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

turtles all the way down

“Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green follows the story of Aza, a 16-year-old girl with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), who is trying to solve the mystery of a millionaire fugitive in order to claim the reward money with her best friend Daisy. Along the way, she confronts her own mental illness and struggles to maintain her relationships with her friends and family. This book is a realistic portrayal of mental illness and the challenges faced by those who suffer from it.

Contemporary books can provide a powerful mirror for young readers’ daily lives. Reading these books can help 8th graders to build empathy, encourage them to ask important questions, to think critically and become more aware of the world they live in. By introducing these books in schools, educators can help promote a lifelong love of reading as well as encourage students to engage in meaningful dialogues about the complexities and challenges of real-life situations.

Non-Fiction Books to Broaden 8th Graders’ Horizons


Non-Fiction Books to Broaden 8th Graders' Horizons

Reading non-fiction books is a great way to broaden an eighth-grader’s horizons. It can help them develop a better understanding of the world around them, and provide insights into complex subjects that they might not otherwise explore. Here are some excellent non-fiction books that eighth-graders may enjoy reading:

  1. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – This book is a poignant and moving account of the life and experiences of a young Jewish girl, Anne Frank, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The diary is a great way for students to learn about the Holocaust and the experiences of those who survived.
  2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – This book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cancer cells were used without her knowledge for scientific research. The story raises important ethical questions about the use of human tissue in medical research and is a thought-provoking read for eighth-graders.
  3. The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater – This book is a true story of a hate crime that occurred on a city bus in Oakland, California. The incident involved a white student set on fire the skirt of a black, agender student. It explores themes of identity, tolerance, and the American justice system, making it a recommended read for teens.
  4. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer – This memoir details the inspiring story of William Kamkwamba, a boy from Malawi who built a windmill from found materials to help provide electricity for his family during a time of famine. The book highlights the importance of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and self-reliance, making it a recommended read for eighth-graders.
  5. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance – This book tells the story of Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and many other companies. It explores his early life, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his vision for the future, making it a great read for students interested in technology, engineering, and space exploration.

These non-fiction books are just a few of the excellent options available for eighth-graders. They can spark students’ curiosity, inspire them to learn more about the world, and help them develop critical thinking skills. Encouraging an eighth-grader to read non-fiction is an excellent way to help them become engaged and informed citizens.

Diverse Reads for 8th Graders to Explore Different Perspectives


Books with Diverse Characters and Stories

The eighth grade is a crucial time for students to develop their reading and critical thinking skills. It is also an opportunity for them to explore different cultures, identities, and experiences through books. As teachers and parents, it is essential to provide diverse reads that offer different perspectives suitable for their age level, such as:

1. “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street

Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street” is a coming-of-age novel that offers a glimpse into the life of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago. The novel explores themes such as the search for identity, poverty, and the immigrant experience. Through Esperanza’s eyes, readers can explore the challenges faced by many Latino families in America and how they navigate the complexities of American society.

2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” tells the story of a young Native American boy, Junior, who dreams of a better life outside his impoverished community. Through his struggles, Junior offers insight into the complexities of Native American life, the pain inflicted by colonialism, and the challenges of growing up as an outsider.

3. “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson’s “Brown Girl Dreaming” is a memoir in verse that recounts the author’s experiences growing up as an African American girl in the 1960s and 1970s. Through her poetry, Woodson shares her struggles with identity, family, and race. The book portrays the realities of segregation and racism in America and celebrates the strength of African American families.

4. “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo’s “The Poet X” is a novel in verse that tells the story of a young Dominican American girl, Xiomara, who uses poetry to find her voice and confront the challenges of growing up in Harlem. The book deals with themes such as identity, family, religion, and femininity. Through Xiomara’s poetry, readers can explore the complexities of cultural and gender expectations and the strength of self-expression.

5. “Refugee” by Alan Gratz

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Alan Gratz’s “Refugee” tells the story of three children from different parts of the world (Syria, Cuba, and Nazi Germany) who are forced to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. Through their perspectives, readers can explore the realities of war, persecution, and displacement and the challenges faced by refugees seeking asylum in foreign lands. The book offers a humanizing perspective on global conflicts and encourages empathy and understanding of different cultures and experiences.

Providing diverse reads for eighth graders is essential for promoting empathy, understanding, and critical thinking. These books offer a glimpse into different cultures, identities, and experiences and encourage students to reflect on their own values and beliefs. By prioritizing diverse literature, we can create a more inclusive society and foster a more compassionate future.

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